Student shot at Talladega College; shooter still at large
by Aziza Jackson
A shooting on Talladega College’s campus late Friday night left a student with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

According to Talladega Police Chief Alan Watson, TC student Joshua Emory from New Orleans was shot around 12:30 a.m. Saturday at the entry steps of the dormitory Crawford Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Emory was airlifted to University Hospital in Birmingham after receiving initial treatment at Citizens Baptist Medical Center and came out of surgery around 5:30 a.m.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

“We’re looking for a black male who was wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans and black shoes,” Watson said. “We have witnesses we are working with now to try and determine who the shooter was.”

Watson said evidence from the scene points to the fact that the weapon was a small caliber handgun.

Watson said the shooter is still at-large, however the possibility that he has a connection to the college somehow has not been ruled out.

“We can’t say it is a student, but then we can’t say that it’s not a student,” Watson said.

TC President Billy C. Hawkins believes that the shooter is from the local residential community.

“There has been on ongoing problem with locals coming onto campus with guns,” Hawkins said. “Our chief (of campus police) has taken a lot of guns off locals on campus.”

Hawkins added that individuals in a black Dodge Charger with a personalized tag were asked by campus police to leave the campus prior to the shooting.

Hawkins said they apparently parked the car off campus and hid at a vacant house across the street from Crawford Hall, a dormitory on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and waited for students to return to the dorm.

Hawkins said several shots were fired at the group, with Emory being hit.

As far as Hawkins’ claim of locals bringing guns onto campus, Watson said that it is not unlawful for locals to tote guns and that anyone without a permit for their gun will be arrested.

“We don’t have any evidence of that,” Watson said. “One incident doesn’t mean everyone in Talladega is toting guns.

“There are some issues brought up in the investigation that there were some earlier problems that led to this.”

Watson also said that there is not enough evidence to suggest that the suspicious vehicle Hawkins mentioned was involved in the shooting.

“We don’t have any evidence that any shooting came from a vehicle; that is not a fact,” Watson said. “The investigation has revealed that a suspicious car came through that area prior to the shooting, but there’s no evidence that a person who did the shooting came out of that car. We are investigating every lead we have about that car.”

One lead in particular is about the car’s personalized tag.

“More than likely it’s somewhat of a new tag and we will have that new information Monday when it comes up,” Watson said.

Hawkins released an official statement on behalf of the college late Saturday.

“This is a very sad and unfortunate incident. Someone could have been killed,” he said. “This act of violence occurred from an outsider coming onto our campus. It is a difficult challenge of ours having an open campus and attempting to control non-students. We are fighting a battle to protect our students.”

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© 2012