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3 Va. men hurt in shooting at Hampton University

Sunday, April 26, 2009

By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press Writer

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HAMPTON, Va. — 

A former Hampton University student armed with three guns followed a pizza delivery man into the student's former dorm early Sunday, shot the delivery man and a dorm monitor, then turned the gun on himself, university officials said. All three survived.

No current students were injured and both victims and the alleged shooter were expected to recover. Officials could offer no motive for the shooting.

Hampton President William R. Harvey, who said he arrived within 15 minutes of the shooting, told a news conference the campus shooting could have been much worse.

"I think we are very, very fortunate. This could have been another _ you fill in the blank," Harvey said.

The 18-year-old former student, who is from New York City, apparently parked his car off campus to avoid a vehicle checkpoint at Hampton's main gate, then followed the pizza delivery man on foot and inside a freshman dormitory, Harkness Hall. Once inside, he shot the pizza man and entered the monitor's office and fired three shots at him, then shot himself, Hampton University Police Chief Leroy Crosby said.

Crosby said he didn't know what prompted the shooting.

The monitor, who suffered two gunshot wounds in his arms and a third in the leg, has been released from the hospital, Harvey said.

"He feels, as I do, that he was extremely lucky and blessed," Harvey said of the monitor.

The other two, including the alleged shooter, were in stable condition.

The shooting victims are 62 and 43. The university did not release their names.

Hampton police are leading the investigation and requested that details be withheld at the news conference, Crosby said.

Hampton police Cpl. Paula Ensley said Sunday afternoon the suspect had not yet been charged but no other details in the case were being released.

Jelani Holland, 18, a freshman from Los Angeles, said he and other students were playing music and video games in the all-male freshman dormitory when they heard a fire alarm sound early Sunday. As they left their rooms, they saw the delivery man shot in the neck and stomach outside the monitor's office. Police were applying pressure to his wounds, he said.

"He was shaking a lot and talking with police," Holland said.

Harvey said when he arrived at Harkness, a lockdown was already in place and Harkness Hall had been evacuated.

David Wilkins, a freshman from Germantown, Md., said when he and his fellow dorm mates left Harkness they were instructed to go to other dorms.

"A lot of people didn't know what was going on in Harkness," he said of other students on campus. He said the first alert wasn't received until around 2:30 a.m.

"People were trying to figure out what was going on," Holland said.

Hampton officials said the first alert was issued at 2 a.m. They defended the timing of the alerts but Harvey said: "We'll go over every aspect of this."

Hampton University is a private school in southeastern Virginia with about 5,700 students. It was founded in 1868 during Reconstruction to educate black leaders for the newly freed slaves.

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On the Net:

Hampton University: http://www.hamptonu.edu

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