College shootings shock nation

Last week, separate shootings at the University of Texas at Austin and Seton Hall University gripped the nation, as they resulted in the deaths of two college students, one of whom was an innocent bystander.

Nineteen-year-old Jessica Moore was fatally shot at an off-campus house near Seton Hall University early Saturday after a gunman opened fire on a party she was attending. The gunman — later identified as 25-year-old Nicholas Welch — refused to pay the cover charge, and when he was denied entry, he shot five individuals, including Moore. The injuries to the other four victims were not considered life-threatening.

According to students at the scene, Moore died after she threw herself in front of a wounded classmate.

Seton Hall held prayer services for Moore on Saturday evening.

As of Sunday, Welch was at-large, and police set a $10,000 reward for information that would lead to his capture. Then, on Wednesday, Welch was arrested and charged with murder, conspiracy and illegal weapons the scene, Moore died after she threw herself in front of a wounded classmate.

Seton Hall held prayer services for Moore on Saturday evening.

As of Sunday, Welch was at-large, and police set a $10,000 reward for information that would lead to his capture. Then, on Wednesday, Welch was arrested and charged with murder, conspiracy and illegal weapons possession. He is being held on $2 million bail.

The search for 19-year-old Marcus Bascus, who is accused with supplying the gun to Welch, is still ongoing.

Two days after the Seton Hall shooting, on the morning of Monday, Sept. 27, a gunman opened fire on campus at the University of Texas at Austin, sending the entire university into lockdown.

The shooter was spotted before classes wearing a dark suit and a ski mask, running through campus carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. Then, the individual — later identified as 19-year-old Colton Tooley — started shooting, firing randomly into both the air and the ground.

Fortunately, Tooley did not hit anyone, although police say he easily could have. Once SWAT teams spotted Tooley, they followed him up to the sixth floor of the university’s main library. Once they got there, however, police found that Tooley had fatally shot himself.

According to a report by ABC News, on the day of the shooting, a man who referred to himself as “Marcus” and claimed to be a member of the family, emerged from the Tooley household and read a statement.

“I want you to understand how he lived,” he said. “He was a very smart guy, very intelligent, excellent student. He wouldn’t or couldn’t hurt a fly. This is a great shock to me and my family. There was nothing prior to this day, nothing that would lead any of us to believe this could take place.”

The shooting sent the campus into lockdown for the entire day, as questions circulated as to whether another shooter was on the loose. Original police reports cited shootings occurring at different spots on campus, causing police to have to search for another potential gunman. It was later determined, however, that Tooley acted alone.

While the campus was searched, students were instructed via e-mail and text to stay off campus, and if they were already there, to lock their doors and stay put.

According to witness reports, the shooter was spotted waving and smiling throughout the rampage. As of yet, no motives for the shooting have been established.

Both the murder at Seton Hall and the shooting at the University of Texas have been stirring up nation-wide controversy over the past few days. Beyond parents and students questioning the security of college campuses, the event is bringing other issues, such as gun control, back to the forefront.

Texas lawmakers, for instance, are using the shooting to push new legislation that would allow Texas college students to carry concealed handguns for self-defense, provided that they pass an eight-hour training course.

Fleming is a member of the class of 2013.

A Seton Hall student writes on a wall at Xavier Hall in memory of late classmate 19-year-old Jessica Moore.



You can contact Justin at justin.fleming@rochester.edu.

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