SC State president defends not locking down campus
South Carolina State University President Thomas Elzey has sent a video message to students defending the decision not to lock down the campus immediately after a fatal shooting last week.
Elzey says police had several witnesses tell officers the shooter left campus immediately after killing 20-year-old Brandon Robinson on Friday. University officials decided since the threat was over, there was no need to immediately keep everyone inside. A lockdown was issued later to make sure the gunman did not come back to campus.
Elzey told students the investigation continues, but he is confident there is no further threat to the campus. One man has been arrested and charged with murder.
Elzey also says he knows the university community is shaken, but it also is strong.
A 20-year-old South Carolina State University student shot to death outside a dormitory was an engineering technology student who also played on the school's football team, the school said Saturday.
Brandon Robinson was a junior who played football as an outside linebacker and defensive end, the university said in a statement. He attended high school in Orangeburg and appeared in four games last season for SC State, according to the team's online roster.
"Brandon was a fine young man who was paying his way through college. All he wanted to do was play football for the university," Bulldog football Coach Buddy Pough said. "We are at (a) loss for words right now."
Robinson was shot to death Friday afternoon outside Hugine Suites after arguing with Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, of Charleston, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said. Singleton was charged with murder and arrested early Saturday at an Orangeburg apartment complex.
Singleton "pulled out a gun and fired at Robinson, hitting him in the neck area," according to an arrest warrant filed by a SLED investigator.
Singleton is a full-time, sophomore student at S.C. State majoring in business, university spokeswoman Sonja Bennett-Bellamy said Saturday. He does not participate in any of the school's athletics programs, but his mother manages a university-owned, off-campus student apartment complex, Bennett-Bellamy said.
Authorities initially said they were looking for four men who had left campus. The school decided to lock down the campus Friday so that whoever was responsible for the shooting could not return, university Police Chief Mernard Clarkson said Friday. The lockdown was lifted Friday evening.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry declined to say Saturday whether investigators were continuing to hunt for three other suspects. Detectives were confident Singleton pulled the trigger, he said.
"Our Investigation is still underway and is ongoing," Berry said.
South Carolina State also was the site of a fatal shooting in 2011, when police said three men met on campus for a drug deal. A student, 22-year-old Jonathan Bailey, was killed.
Friday's fatal shooting happened three days after authorities said a Purdue University student shot and stabbed a fellow student to death in a classroom.
South Carolina State University is a historically black university with about 3,200 students in Orangeburg, about 40 miles south of Columbia.
"Our hearts are heavy with grief and sorrow by the senseless act of violence," university president Thomas Elzey said.
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