Grambling State students say they don’t feel safe on ‘open’ campus after 2 killed near dorm
Student, visitor were shot after argument in dorm room
Grambling State University students are enraged and hurt after the shooting deaths of two men on campus Wednesday during the school’s homecoming celebration week. The shooter has yet to be identified.
Junior Khalilla Onojeta, 19, does not feel safe at the school and believes it should be a closed campus. She knew one of the victims and said he was a cool and goofy person.
“Knowing that two people who actually got shot is really shocking, and it kind of makes you not want to be here. It makes you want to be in a safer environment on a closed campus, somewhere where you know when you wake up the next day your friend isn’t going to be getting ready for his funeral,” said Onojeta.
The incident took place in the courtyard near J.D.E. Bowen Hall early Wednesday morning. The victims have been identified as Earl Andrews and Monquiarious Caldwell. Andrews, 23, was a senior at the university, and Caldwell, 23, was a visitor. Both victims were from Farmerville, Louisiana, about 29 miles from the university. The shooter had not been arrested as of late Wednesday.
Grambling State is an open campus, meaning anyone has access to the school area. Last month a man was shot in his upper right arm in a nearby dormitory because of an argument that led to a fight. The victim survived.
According to GSU director of communications Will Sutton, a female student called the police chief to alert them of the situation Wednesday morning. Police said the incident stemmed from an altercation that started in a dorm room and spilled into the courtyard. The victims were pronounced dead on the scene. The suspect fled the scene, and officials are still investigating the incident.
Students and staff received a text alert at 2:07 a.m. that read: “There has been a shooting on the Grambling State University Campus. Please say in your rooms. Officials are on the scene.”
“This tragic incident appears to have occurred between persons that knew each other, to some extent at least,” Lincoln Parish sheriff Mike Stone said in a statement.
“There are no indicators that this incident bears any resemblance to any of the random acts of violence or domestic terrorism that have been experienced around our country in the recent weeks,” said Stone.
Christian Bailey, 21, had known Andrews since 2014. He remembers him as a free-spirited, humble young man with a kind heart. Andrews is survived by his 2-year-old son.
“I was just really in disbelief. And when somebody had said something about Earl, I repeatedly said to myself that can’t be Earl. It just can’t be. When I saw the body, I was just shocked,” said Bailey.
“I don’t feel safe on Grambling’s campus. … I feel as though we should have a set of rules set in place and actually abide by those rules and regulations strictly.”
Bailey said that when he lived on campus, he did not want to stay in that area because he would see people loitering outside of the dorms with loud music causing a ruckus on a school night. He also said sometimes the gates to the dorms do not work or are not closed.
“That area is a hot spot, so why is there no surveillance or monitoring in that hotspot?” said Bailey.
GSU president Richard Gallot wrote a letter to the Grambling family offering his condolences to the victims’ families and saying homecoming activities will resume as scheduled. He advised everyone to be safe and to contact authorities if anyone had any information regarding the incident. He added that he wants to hear from the Grambling family on how to maintain and enhance safety on campus.
“We are working with authorities to do all that we can to ensure your safety on campus, our first priority. … You will see increased police and security this week, and we ask that you be patient with any related delays,” said Gallot.
On Oct. 3, there was a mandatory meeting for all students who lived on campus. At the meeting, administrators told students they would now sign in their guests when they entered the dormitories. Onojeta said she has yet to sign in a guest or to be instructed to do so.