GRAMBLING — Authorities searched Wednesday for a suspect in a shooting that killed a Grambling State University student and his friend after an altercation on the Louisiana college’s campus. Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone said the suspect and victims knew each other “to some extent” and stressed that the shooting wasn’t random or an act of terrorism.
“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 recent weeks,” Stone said in a statement.
The suspect remained at large hours after the shooting, but classes at the historically black college were held as usual. The sheriff’s office said the suspect was a black male but didn’t immediately release a detailed description of him. Both shooting victims also were black, according to a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
University spokesman Will Sutton identified the victims as Grambling junior Earl Andrews and Monquiarious Caldwell, both 23 and from Farmerville, Louisiana, about 30 miles from Grambling. Andrews’ brother, Ledarius Heard, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Andrews and Caldwell were friends from high school and cousins by marriage.
Heard, 31, said his brother, who lived with him off campus in Ruston, was studying criminal justice and hoped to move to Texas after graduation to be closer to his 1-year-old son.
“Earl didn’t bother nobody,” Heard said.
The deadly shootings happened during the school’s homecoming week. Heard said Andrews typically came home immediately after classes ended but had been on campus Tuesday night to hang out with friends during homecoming week. Heard said he didn’t know of any conflicts between his brother and anyone else.
“If he ever had any problems, he would let me know,” he added.
Grambling State President Richard Gallot Jr. said the college will have “increased police and security” on campus this week but will proceed with a normal academic schedule and isn’t canceling homecoming events. A student-led prayer vigil was planned for Wednesday evening.
Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Williams said detectives joined Grambling State’s campus police in investigating the double homicide after getting 911 calls starting at 12:04 a.m. Wednesday. The university in northern Louisiana has an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students.
“It was an altercation that started inside one of the dorm rooms and spilled out into the courtyard,” Williams said. “We’re interviewing witnesses.”
The university posted a message on Twitter that said offices would be open Wednesday with normal business hours and students were expected to attend classes as scheduled. A Grambling State student was wounded last month in a separate shooting on the campus. Grambling spokesman Will Sutton told news outlets then that a student let another person into a dorm and there was a fight that ended with a student being shot in the left arm on Sept. 21. No suspects have been named in that shooting. Gallot said the latest shooting was an “isolated incident.”
“In the coming weeks, we will work with you to get your input on how we can maintain and enhance campus safety,” he said.