Several injured by gunfire at shooting on college campus

Published 8:58 am Sunday, October 16, 2022

SALISBURY — A shooting that occurred during a concert at Livingstone College on Saturday night ended in several people injured by gunfire and others injured in the efforts to escape the violence.

According to information posted on the city’s website, “A male victim with a gunshot wound was flown to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, where he was in stable condition, and a female victim with a graze wound was treated at a local hospital and released.” But as of Monday morning, it was determined there may have been a third person injured.

More concrete information is expected to be available at a planned joint press conference between police and the college Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Livingstone College President Anthony J. Davis, in office just two weeks, said he is hoping the community will be supportive of his students.

“My students were the victims in this situation, not the perpetrators,” he said late Sunday. “I hope that the community will rally around Livingstone just as it did when a similar incident happened in our college community during a Christmas tournament.” He emphasized that neither of the actual shooting victims are students.

As news of the shooting spread on Sunday, support did indeed begin to come in from around the community.

Catawba President David Nelson issued the following statement on Sunday:

“Catawba College stands in solidarity with the entire Livingstone College community as it copes with the recent shooting on their campus. We hope and pray for a full recovery of everyone injured. Words are insufficient to describe our grief and anger at this senseless act of violence. All campuses should be safe havens for living and learning. Our hearts and hopes for healing are with the students, faculty, staff, and alumni at Livingstone now and in the weeks to come.”

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander said “There is nothing more important that the safety and well-being of our community, particularly of our young people. I, and all of the members of the city council, offer our full support to the entire Livingstone College family during this difficult time. We lift up Dr. Davis, Livingstone students, staff and alumni in prayer as our community deals with this senseless act of violence.”

The shooting happened during a Saturday night concert featuring the rap artist Asian Doll at the end of the weekend’s homecoming celebration. Davis noted that homecoming “is almost like a family reunion. We have multigenerational attendees, from people in their 80s all the way down to children.”

“Based on the limited information we have received from Salisbury police and other investigative agencies, this was an isolated incident,” Davis went on to say. “We had people from outside of the college come onto our campus with complete disregard for our sacred space.”

He said this year the college had taken additional measures to increase security, such as requiring clear backpacks or bags, and that there were metal detectors that people had to pass through in order to get into the stadium.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Livingstone College family and the victims of the incident that occurred on campus late yesterday evening,” said a press release issued by Salisbury police Sunday afternoon. “Although, the Salisbury Police Department is still very early in its investigation, additional information is being made available by law enforcement. An altercation occurred on the campus of Livingstone College last night during its homecoming concert. During the altercation, a person, who is not a student of Livingstone College, fired one or more shots. Salisbury Police Department is still investigating the incident and is devoting additional resources to solving this crime.

“The city of Salisbury continues to coordinate and work closely with Dr. Anthony Davis and the entire staff at Livingstone College. We appreciate his leadership, patience and full cooperation with law enforcement through this difficult situation.”

Police and EMS crews were called to the campus just after 11 p.m., and two gunshot victims were reportedly on site, one at the front gate and one being treated at the pavilion area. Medical crews were also responding to reports of injuries among the crowd, including a leg injury, breathing difficulty and seizures, as people tried to escape the shots. Scanner traffic indicated there were numerous calls for police and medical staff and surrounding communities were called in to provide coverage of Salisbury during the incident.

“I’m saddened that after a week of homecoming activities without incident, our students, alumni, their families and friends had to witness this senseless act of gun violence. Our students, alumni and their families did not deserve this. My prayer is that the perpetrators be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law swiftly and decisively.”

The college is making counselors available to any students who may feel traumatized by the incident and Davis said the school is reviewing the situation to see if any other preventative actions could have been taken. He said the school was “caught off guard” by the shooting, and he is aware students may feel the safety they normally feel on campus has been compromised. “We’ll take a look to see if additional steps need to be taken in terms of how people are allowed to come onto the campus,” he said.

“We are entrusting the police to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” continued Davis. “But transparency is critical — critical, and healing cannot move forward without information.”

Anyone with information about the incident or with any video of the scene is asked to contact Lt. Crews at 704-638-5333 or send a private message to the Salisbury Police Department Facebook or Twitter pages at @SalisburyNCPD.