Suspect on the Loose After Shooting Two Students at Delaware State University
A gunman remained on the loose Friday after shooting two students at Delaware State University and forcing the campus into lockdown as police searched for the suspect.
"What we have seen is students against students," Delaware State University President Allen Sessoms told reporters at an afternoon press conference. "These are just kids who just did very, very stupid things."
Classes at the Dover, Del., campus were canceled for the day. The campus will reopen Saturday on a limited basis for some student activities, officials said.
"The shooter is still at large," Carlos Holmes, a university spokesman, said at a press conference near campus. "Given the lessons of the past year, we cannot assume that he is not on campus."
Police continue searching for the male suspect, identifying two persons of interest, both who are students, James Overton, chief of police at Delaware State University, said at a press conference. Police are interviewing one of those persons of interest.
Two 17-year-old students from the Washington, D.C.-area were wounded by the gunman when four to six shots were fired, university officials said.
A female student was shot twice, listed in serious condition while the male student was shot once, listed in stable condition.
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A dispatch call came in at 12:45 a.m. Friday about the campus shooting.
The FBI was dispatched to aid in the investigation, FOX News has learned. Agents from the Baltimore field office went to the scene Friday morning to help campus and local police track down what they believed was a lone male suspect.
Authorities did not know of a motive for the shootings, and university officials said there was no reason to believe they were connected to the so-called Jena Six demonstrations — even though there was a rally on campus Thursday night to support the six black students charged with attacking a white student during a school fight in Jena, La.
"It was a very peaceful, very nice rally, very positive," said university spokesman Carlos Holmes.
He said he was not aware of any big parties on campus Thursday night, aside from the rally to honor the black students, nicknamed the Jena Six.
At the university's main entrance, swing-arm gates were down to prevent people from driving onto campus.
The two students were shot before 1 a.m. on the Campus Mall, between the Memorial Hall gymnasium and Richard S. Grossley Hall, an administrative building.
It was the first-ever on-campus shooting in the school's 117-year history.
Holmes said the female student appeared to have suffered serious wounds. "They could be potentially life-threatening," he said. The male student's wounds were not as serious and he was hospitalized in stable condition, Holmes said.
Police hoped to find out more information once the victims were able to talk.
"We haven't had a chance to talk to them yet, and that's probably a big reason why the suspect is still at large," Holmes told KYW-TV of Philadelphia.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was taking part in the investigation, according to Holmes.
University officials informed students about the shooting with phone calls, a notice posted on the campus Web site and notifications in each dormitory. Holmes said Delaware State had improved the speed of its notifications following the shootings in April at Virginia Tech.
The Dover campus was surrounded Friday by groups of recreational vehicles belonging to NASCAR fans in town for this weekend's races at the Dover Downs Speedway.
It's the second time in as many months that Delaware State University has had to cope with tragic shootings.
At the start of the fall semester, the campus community held a memorial service for three students and an incoming student shot execution-style Aug. 4 outside an elementary school in their hometown of Newark, N.J.
Natasha Aeriel, 19; her brother, Terrance Aeriel, 18, and Dashon Harvey, 20, were students. Iofemi Hightower, 20, had planned to attend Delaware State this fall. Natasha Aeriel, the only survivor, helped police identify six suspects who have been arrested.
Delaware State was established in 1891 as the State College for Colored Students. It had about 3,690 students last year. The 400-acre campus is in the northern section of Dover, across the street from the racetrack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.