5 Duquesne basketball players shot on campus, 2 in critical condition
Sunday, September 17th 2006, 5:23 pm
News On 6
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Police searched for a man who shot five Duquesne basketball players on campus early Sunday after a dance at the student union, leaving at least two of them in critical condition.
Two players were walking near a dormitory and encountered a man who apparently had been disruptive at the dance, authorities said. The players tried to calm the man and walked away but were shot. Players who rushed to their aid were also shot.
The gunman and a group of people with him were not students, a university official said.
In critical condition were forward Sam Ashaolu of Toronto, a transfer from Lake Region State College and a cousin of former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon; and Stuard Baldonado of Colombia, a transfer from Miami Dade College who was considered the school's best recruit.
Also hospitalized was Kojo Mensah, a guard from New York City who averaged nearly 17 points last season at Siena College before transferring, school officials said at a news conference Sunday. His condition was not available.
Treated and released were Shawn James of New York City, the nation's leading shot blocker last season at Northeastern University before transferring to Duquesne; and Aaron Jackson of Hartford, Conn., a guard who is one of only two returning players from Duquesne's 3-24 team last season.
Witnesses reported seeing two guns, said university president Charles Dougherty, but he couldn't confirm whether both were fired. The second gun was seen on someone in a group with the gunman, Dougherty said.
Six to 12 shots were fired, he said. He did not know what sparked the violence.
``What motive can there be for unloading a pistol into a group of students?'' Dougherty said.
James, an NBA propsect expected to be Duquesne's top player when he becomes eligible in the 2007-08 season, was shot in the foot but no bones were broken. Mensah was believed shot in the shoulder. Jackson was shot in the hand.
``The entire Duquesne University community is saddened and shocked,'' Dougherty said. ``We're shocked because an event of this sort has never happened. It's a safe campus and known to be a safe campus.''
The downtown school has round-the-clock police protection, which was stepped up Sunday. Armed university police officers guarded dormitories and other buildings.
Duquesne coach Ron Everhart, formerly at Northeastern, had rebuilt the school's program after being hired in March by bringing in 10 recruits _ one of the most sweeping upheavals of any Division I program in recent years.
Duquesne University is a private Catholic university with nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.