What Happened At Savannah State University? A Shooting Has Left The Campus Stunned
A junior at Savannah State University died Thursday night following a shooting on the quiet Georgia campus, the university confirmed in a statement. Christopher Starks, who hailed from the metro Atlanta area, died from gunshot injuries sustained during a shooting altercation at the university's student union. Starks was the only Savannah State University Student injured in the shooting, the university said. Now, state authorities are searching for more information about the Savannah State University gunman, and no arrests have been made at this time.
"It is with great sadness that we report the loss of a Savannah State University student," the university said of Starks, who had just turned 22. Savannah State University, which is the oldest historically black university in Georgia, will be holding a prayer vigil for Starks at noon on Friday.
"The safety of those who live, study, work and visit Savannah State University remains a top priority – no exceptions," the university added. "Savannah State University has zero tolerance for violence of any kind."
The university's police department is working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and a joint investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing. According to Fox 5 in Atlanta, a manhunt is underway Friday morning, but authorities have not released any details about the suspect or suspects.
The university was put on lockdown Thursday night following reports of a shooting. University officials told its student community to "stay in place and cooperate with police officers." The lockdown was lifted shortly after midnight on Friday.
Hours later, the university urged its students to alert authorities immediately if they know a fellow student is in possession of a firearm:
If students are aware of the presence of weapons, please think and act responsibly to disclose such information to a member of the faculty, staff or administration, or other figure of authority. While it may be natural to want to protect an associate, the lack of disclosure may do more harm than good in the long run. Therefore, anyone with information about the incident should contact the SSU Police Department at 912-358-3004.
It's unknown at this time if the shooting suspect was a Savannah State University student. According to CBS affiliate WTOC-TV in Savannah, the search for the shooter — or shooters — is still ongoing, and it appears authorities have yet to identify the suspect's identity.
Savannah State University did not cancel classes on Friday, but delayed them until 10 a.m. The university said grief counseling will also be available to students.