Community In Mourning After WSSU Tragedy

By Kristen Maikoo, Emily Ramser and Sarah Vick
Picture via The Winston Salem Chronicle 

    A sophomore was shot dead and another was wounded after gunfire erupted Sunday near dormitories on the Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) campus. Sophomore Anthony White, 19, was studying information technology at WSSU. He was originally from Honea Path, South Carolina. The wounded student has not yet been identified.

    This is the first university shooting in recent history in the Winston-Salem community. WSSU had an emergency plan in place due to the history of university shootings in the United States. Administrators released an announcement about the situation via Twitter, through which they imposed a lockdown on campus. The shooting took place at 1:20 a.m. and the campus was on lockdown until 4:50 a.m. During this time, students were encouraged to stay inside and away from windows.

    WSSU sophomore Kenya Adams said, “I first found out about the shooting when we were put on lockdown. My first thoughts were,’I hope nobody died and I wondered who got shot.’” Adams recalls hearing the lockdown alarm. “I had just woken up and looked on Instagram when I found out who it was. I just want to say that Anthony was a great guy. He was always fun to be around and that his memory will forever live on in those that loved him and the way he died should not be a representation of him,” said Adams.

    WSSU sophomore Malik Smith said, “As soon as the event occurred, WSSU sent an email and put the campus on lockdown and informed us of the situation. My initial reaction was it crazy that you could get killed at school. School and church are supposed to be the safest places. And this year has lead me to believe that is not true anymore.”

    Smith knew the students who were shot. “They were cool and fun loving individuals and I didn’t sense a negative energy from any of them. Anthony was a good dude and I just want to send my condolences to his family,” said Smith.

    Salem College’s Student Government Association (SGA) reached out to the WSSU Student Governement Association with their condolences and invited the WSSU SGA members to a moment of silence held at Salem’s peace pole on Friday, Nov. 6. The moment of silence was led by Salem College Chaplain Amy Rio. SGA Vice President Monique Ahmad also read a poem in honor of White at the event.

    President of Salem Academy and College, D.E. Lorraine Sterritt, reached out to Salem students, faculty and staff via email on Nov. 1, saying,  “Our prayers are with our friends and neighbors at Winston-Salem State University.” She also encouraged students to reach out support resources on campus such as the resident life staff, the counseling services, and the chaplain’s office.

   The mayor of Winston-Salem, Allen Joines, also issued a statement about the incident.

   “The city joins the Winston-Salem State community in grieving the death of one student and the injury of another,” said Joines. “This terrible incident has marred what should have been a weekend of celebration for the new chancellor and for returning alumni enjoying their homecoming weekend. I urge all the citizens of Winston-Salem to keep these students, their families, and the Winston-Salem State community in their thoughts and prayers,” said Joines.

    Charlotte police arrested the shooter, former WSSU student Jarrett Jerome Moore, 21, on Nov. 2. Moore was charged with the murder of White and with possession of weapons on school grounds.

    In an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree remarked that the shooting was an “unusual occurrence at WSSU.”

   “This is a tragic event, and isolated to the campus of WSSU,” Rountree said. “The public should also know that this event was contained to the campus, and there is not a threat to the general public or any other local university campus.”

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