On Saturday, the 18th of April 2015, three people were shot and injured during the sorority and fraternity cookout event at Delaware State University campus. This event had started at 4 p.m. and was supposed to end by 9 p.m. Thousands of people were attending it.
The shooting occurred around 8 p.m., according to police reports. Statements revealed that a gun seemed to have been fired from the middle of the crowd. Everyone present was asked to clear the area – students were sent to their dormitories and outsiders were asked to leave the university campus. The three people who were hurt were taken to Kent General Hospital in Dover. According to University President Harry L. Williams, their condition is stable. Their names have not been released to the press and university spokesman Carlos Holmes said that it is not yet certain whether or not they are students at DSU.
On Sunday morning, at 1:15 a.m., there was a second round of shootings in the car park at the University Courtyard but no one was hurt. School officials sent out an alert fifteen minutes later, to notify students and encourage them to remain indoors. President Williams emphasized the importance of students’ safety and ensured everyone that the police will do everything they can to find the shooters. The security in the campus was reported to be of paramount importance for the university representatives.
The Delaware State University Police Department is collaborating with the Dover Police Department, Delaware State Police in their investigations. Other Law enforcement agencies have also been asked to join. Police officers from Milford, Smyrna, Wyoming and Dover departments immediately reported to the site. Some of them were carrying assault rifles, according to the witnesses. A helicopter also scrutinized the area to search for the suspects. Several police cars, as well as a prisoner van were parked just outside the University Courtyard Apartments that were situated off College Avenue. Two police cars were on permanent surveillance, patrolling on the main area. One of the convenience stores nearby closed earlier that night, for safety reasons.
The description of a suspect was also issued. His name is not yet known but the investigators are looking for a black man of 5-feet-9 to 5-feet-11 with short dreadlocks. At the moment he was wearing a blue long-sleeved T-shirt and white sneakers. Witnesses said he was driving a dark vehicle. At 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, the police hadn’t arrested anyone yet.
Clips from the university campus, showing crowds of people watching and police cars patrolling appeared on Twitter soon after the area was packed with investigators.
This is not the first incident of the kind that occurred at the University of Delaware. In November, 2014, a student was shot in the chest in the parking lot of the Living and Learning Commons residence hall. The police classified the shooting as a drug-related robbery and two residents of the DSU campus were found guilty of first-degree assault.
At the time, the president of the university stated in an open letter that he would make sure all safety measures are revisited and security is strengthened.