‘Traumatizing’: Police hunt gunman after 4 students shot near Clark Atlanta University before classes start


The four injured females were shot outside a library that serves Clark Atlanta and other nearby historically black colleges.
Fox – 5 Atlanta

ATLANTA – Police searched for a suspect Wednesday after four college students were wounded when a gunman fired into a crowd of people near Clark Atlanta University.

Atlanta police said the shooting started around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after a fight between two groups at a block party outside a library on campus. The shooter escaped into the crowd. No suspect had been named. 

“It appears there were two separate groups that were targeting each other, and these people were just caught in the crossfire,” Atlanta police Capt. William Ricker told WSB-TV.

The shooting comes in the wake of two back-to-back mass shootings that put Americans on edge and renewed a nationwide gun-control debate.

Video shown by WXIA-TV shows dozens of students running frantically after the gunshots. The party was celebrating the end of orientation for new students. 

The four injured females were shot outside a library that serves Clark Atlanta and other nearby historically black colleges. The victims were in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said. 

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Two of the victims are Spelman College students, ages 17 and 18; the other two victims are Clark Atlanta students, 18 and 19, police said.

One of the victims was identified by friends as Spelman freshman Elyse Spencer, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Spencer let her friends and family know on Twitter that she survived.

Update: She is ok 🙏🏾❤️ https://t.co/NgZSgrDUP7

— Zu La Reina👸🏾 (@_cloutz) August 21, 2019

Thank you for y’all prayers. Can’t really reply to people. But I’m here, I’m alive. God got me. Y’all got me.

— 🌻 (@elyseaaliyah) August 21, 2019

Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta, all neighboring campuses, started classes Wednesday. A prayer vigil was held at noon on Clark Atlanta University’s campus.

Wednesday afternoon, activity at the three schools appeared normal as students reported to classes. Police and security guards patrolled campus entrances.  

Morehouse students said they were on edge about the violence so close to their own campus.  

Seniors Leland Jackson and Massimo Rizzo said they didn’t attend the block party but learned about the shooting from a video posted to social media.

Rizzo said it was terrifying to watch, especially after the string of mass shootings that have shaken the nation.

“It’s traumatizing,” Rizzo said. “My prayers go out to all the people injured because it’s not fair.”

Jackson and Rizzo agreed that the campuses at Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta are usually safe. Most of the crime happens in the neighborhoods surrounding the colleges, Jackson said.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Jackson said. “The scariest thing is it’s almost getting a little too normal for shootings to be so close to school campuses.”

At Spelman, counselors were available on campus to provide support, Darryl Holloman, vice president of student affairs, wrote in a statement.

“Evil will not have its way on our campus,” the Clark Atlanta University’s Office of Religious Life said on social media, announcing details of the vigil.

Amyr Smith, a Morehouse senior, said the college campuses could benefit from more security.

“We are supposed to be in school learning and getting better, and we can’t really do that with the shooting and the violence,” Smith said. “We don’t really feel safe.”

Contributing: Jay Cannon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press


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