4 Shot on Atlanta College Campus During Back-to-School Party, Police Say

August 21, 2019 Updated: August 21, 2019

Officials said that at least four people were shot and injured on the night of Aug. 20 after someone opened fired at a campus party in Atlanta.

A suspect opened fire at a crowd of 200 people at a block party near the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Clark Atlanta University, which is a historically African-American university located in the city, WSB-TV reported.

The Atlanta Police Department said gunfire erupted at 10:30 p.m. ET following an argument between two groups who were in attendance.

“It appears there were two separate groups that were targeting each other and the students in the crossfire,” Atlanta Police Capt. William Rucker told WSB-TV.

The report said that one girl was shot in the chest while the other victims were grazed by bullets.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the students were all female and aged 17 to 19.

“Initial investigation seems to indicate an argument broke out between two parties prior to the shooting,” Atlanta police public affairs director Carlos Campos told the newspaper. “It appears the women were not the intended targets of the shooting.”

Two of the wounded students went to Spelman College and the other two are from Clark Atlanta University, police said.

Darryl B. Holloman, the vice president of student affairs at Spelman, said all four students are in stable condition.

A Twitter user, Zu La Reina, wrote: “My friend Elyse Spencer got shot. She is a freshman at Spelman. I was holding her arm and we heard gunshots, started running and we went different directions. She is in the hospital now. Please pray for her.”

The AJC also reported that Spencer was the one who was hit in the chest.

On Twitter, Spencer issued a statement following the shooting.

“Thank you for y’all prayers. Can’t really reply to people. But I’m here, I’m alive. God got me. Y’all got me,” she tweeted.

One Clark Atlanta University student said they were happy they didn’t attend.

“I was telling my roommates, I was like, ‘Ya’ll, its class tomorrow let’s stay in.’ Thank God I was taking forever to get dressed right after it happened,” said freshman Samone Wright in the WSB report.

“We heard multiple shots being fired and everybody started running,” a Morehouse College junior was quoted by the AJC as saying. “There was just a whole bunch of confusion in the area.”

Clark Atlanta police Chief Debra Williams later asked students to stay away from the library overnight, the newspaper said.

Facts About Crime in the United States

Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (pdf).

The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.

The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.

The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.

While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend. Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.