In the early hours of Sunday morning shots rang out in the quad area of Grambling State University in the midst of Homecoming celebrations.
As of this writing, one person has died, one is in hospital with critical injuries, and five sustained non-life threatening wounds. This is the second fatal shooting on this historic campus within a week. Officials note that the perpetrators of this violence were neither students nor university personnel.
My heart is broken for the victims, for their families, for the members of our own St. Luke’s Episcopal Chapel, and for the Grambling community as a whole. My prayers ascend for all of them. And I stress that genuine prayer must also give rise to action.
Join me in praying for eternal rest for the departed, healing for the injured, comfort for those who grieve, and repentance for the assailants. Join me also in calling for our elected officials, for our community leaders, and for each of us individually to do what is needed to bring an end to what has become an epidemic: violence, and gun violence in particular.
The roots of violence are myriad. And while personal responsibility is always a dimension of things human, so too are the circumstances within which we make our choices. We need to commit resources to the development of our small communities like Grambling. And we need common-sense, effective gun regulations across our land.
Love is our highest calling as human beings. Whether we are the victim of it or its perpetrator, violence debases our humanity. You don’t have to be a Christian like me to hear the truth in what Jesus taught with his very life.
Some who read this may need a map to find Grambling. Others will quickly recognize the name of this storied historically black university. For me, it is a community of people I have come to love and admire.
So, yes, the violence in Grambling is personal for me. And maybe it’s high time we take all violence, anywhere, personally. That’s what love does. And love is the only power that can bring violence to an end.
The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
IV Bishop of Western Louisiana
A press statement from GSU
GSU extends class cancellation to October 19, implements curfew in wake of shooting incident
GRAMBLING, La. – October 17, 2021 – On the morning of October 17 at 1:00 a.m., a shooting occurred in the quad area of campus. Eight victims were confirmed, one of which is an enrolled student who was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Among the other non-student victims, one succumbed to their injuries. A suspect has not been identified.
“Our campus community has worked tirelessly to keep our students and others safe for the homecoming activities,” said Grambling State President Rick Gallot. “Yet, with all of our planning and coordination with our local, parish, regional, and state law enforcement partners, we still find ourselves grieving the loss of life and injuries just as too many communities in our country have experienced as well. ”
At the time of the incident, a homecoming event was underway in McCall Dining Center. All persons present sheltered in place and were released once the all-clear was given by University Police.
Classes have been canceled for Monday, October 18, and Tuesday, October 19. GSU administrators met with student leaders to determine the implementation of a curfew that will be in effect from 9:30 p.m. through 6 a.m. until further notice. Counseling services have also been made available.
“Our students come here for an education and far too often it’s outsiders who have created these situations that have put life and limb in danger,” Gallot said. “That’s not why we’re here. That’s not what we’re about after 120 years, and so again, our priority is keeping our students safe.”
The investigation is being led by Louisiana State Police. Anyone with information about the incident can contact (LSP) at (318) 345-0000 or (318) 374-2222.