Two students were injured in a shooting early Saturday on Delaware State University’s campus outside the Wellness and Recreation Center.
A university alert issued at 5:21 a.m. said four people were shot, but an email sent six hours later to faculty, staff and students from DSU President Tony Allen said only two students were injured.
University spokesperson Carlos Holmes later said that the early morning alert was wrong and that only the two unidentified students mentioned in Allen’s email were injured.
The university has not provided any updates on their conditions, other than to say everyone injured was taken to Bayhealth Hospital’s Kent Campus and that DSU police are still investigating.
Holmes did not confirm or deny that shots were fired toward a crowd of students outside the dorms.
Campus was bustling Saturday though, as parents, students and fans tailgated and prepared for a 2 p.m. football game against Lincoln University that continued as planned. Allen said in his email there will be increased security for both this game and all home games.
People were already tailgating Saturday morning ahead of the game, and students could be seen milling around campus.
Allen encouraged email recipients to “come together in solidarity as (they) cheer on our student-athletes, coaches, and staff” at the football game.
Several students who did not want to be identified said the shooting was an isolated incident and that they feel safe on campus.
Another student, a junior who declined to give her name, said while rare, it seems like there’s a report of shots being fired every year.
One student, sophomore Maaliyah Stennett, said this is the second shooting she’s heard about.
“Last year, someone shot out a dorm window,” she said. “Campus security needs to be checking for weapons instead of worrying so much about if students are drinking or where people are parking.”
Dover Police Department spokesperson Master Cpl. Ryan Schmid said Dover police officers were called to DSU at 1:18 a.m. to help respond to the shooting, which is under investigation by the DSU Police Department.
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“Our role at the campus was scene security and rendering aid to the victims,” Schmid said.
The DSU emergency alert said the shooting was part of a robbery, but there were no suspects as of 5:21 a.m. — the time the alert was sent. The alert also stated that the shooting occurred at 1:45 a.m.
DSU police have not responded to requests for comment.
“We will pursue justice in this matter,” Allen said in his email. “Our commitment to ourselves and each other leads us to respond to any challenge made against our collective and individual senses of security.”
Allen wrote that DSU is “committed to creating and maintaining a safe campus environment,” and will hold a “forum” Tuesday to provide updates and hear from the community.
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There was also a home volleyball game, the Hornet Invitational, that went on as planned at noon Saturday.
When a reporter with Delaware Online/The News Journal arriving on campus requested to speak to students there, Holmes responded with, “Why? So you can make up your own story?”
He said he was told by his boss that DSU was “not going to have any media presence” Saturday. He would not say who gave him those instructions.
Parents field frantic calls from students
Parents of students who witnessed the shooting posted on social media that students were out playing basketball early Saturday morning when gunfire erupted. One student was pistol-whipped, according to multiple accounts.
A parent of one DSU student who did not want to be identified but spoke to their child about the incident said that one student was shot and had his shoes stolen. They were also told that shots were fired into a crowd of students.
These reports have not been confirmed by the university.
Three men could be seen midday Saturday scrubbing a part of the basketball court outside the Wellness and Recreation Center but they referred all comment to DSU officials.
“DSU needs better security,” the parent said.
This is a developing story. Check back with Delaware Online for updates.
Send story tips or ideas to Hannah Edelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more reporting, follow them on Twitter at @h_edelman.