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Five Duquesne Basketball Players Shot....

Old 09-18-06, 10:55 AM
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Five Duquesne Basketball Players Shot....


Originally Posted by ESPN.com
PITTSBURGH -- Three of the five Duquesne basketball players shot early Sunday remained hospitalized early Monday, with the most seriously-injured player "fighting for his life" according to a Duquesne source, ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported.

Duquesne coach Ron Everhart was dumbfounded by the shooting of five of his players Sunday. Still, he told ESPN.com's Andy Katz, he was struck by one thing: in the face of senseless violence, his newly-created team banded together.

Sam Ashaolu of Toronto, who, according to multiple sources, was shot in the head, had an "up and down night," as doctors waited for the swelling to go down, according to the source. The bullet was still lodged in Ashaolu's head and his family was by his side. He remained in critical condition at Mercy Hospital.

Stuard Baldonado of Colombia, who remained in serious condition at Mercy Hospital, also still had a bullet in his body. The bullet went through his abdomen and nipped the third lumbar and there was concern about his spine, the source told Katz.

The five players were shot on campus early Sunday after some of them tried to calm a man who apparently had been disruptive at a dance, officials said.

Police searched for the gunman, and the downtown school stepped up its round-the-clock police protection with armed university police officers guarding dormitories and other buildings.

Two players had been walking near a dormitory when they encountered a man who apparently had been disruptive at a student union dance, authorities said. The players attempted to pacify him and walked away but were shot. Players who rushed to their aid were also shot.

Ashaolu, a transfer from Lake Region State College, is a cousin of former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon. Baldonado, a transfer from Miami Dade College , was considered the school's best recruit.

Also still hospitalized was Kojo Mensah, a guard from New York City who averaged nearly 17 points last season at Siena College before transferring, school officials said at a news conference Sunday.

Mensah made summer headlines for wanting out of Siena, but didn't get released and was paying his own way to Duquesne because of the dispute with his former school. He was able to take oral antibiotics for his wound to his shoulder and could be released from Presbyterian Hospital on Monday, Katz reported.

Treated and released Sunday were Shawn James of New York City, the nation's leading shot blocker last season at Northeastern University before transferring to Duquesne; and Aaron Jackson of Hartford, Conn., a guard who is one of only two returning players from Duquesne's 3-24 team last season.

James, an NBA prospect expected to be Duquesne's top player when he becomes eligible in the 2007-08 season, was shot in the foot but the bullet didn't break a bone so he was treated and released, Katz reports. Jackson had a bullet graze his hand. He was treated and released.

The gunman and a group of people with him were not students, university president Charles Dougherty said. Several witnesses saw the gunman leave campus after the shots were fired.

Witnesses reported seeing two guns, Dougherty said, but he couldn't confirm whether both were fired. The second gun was seen on someone in a group with the gunman, Dougherty said.

Six to 12 shots were fired, he said. He did not know what sparked the violence.

"My concern is for the players, their welfare and their families," Duquesne coach Ron Everhart, formerly at Northeastern, told Katz. "But you can't ever dream something like this happening.

"We had guys diving and knocking guys out of the way of the gunfire and diving on the ground, wrapping each other up with tourniquets to stop the bleeding," Everhart said. "They were applying pressure on the wounds. It's a remarkable testament to the character of our kids."

According to the Duquesne source, the majority of the team had gone to a Black Student Association dance event. The players were walking back to the dorms when they were approached by the gunman.

"What motive can there be for unloading a pistol into a group of students?" Dougherty said.

City police were searching for a black man about 5 feet 4 inches tall who was seen running from campus after firing six to 12 shots from a semiautomatic handgun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The gunman and any companions are not believed to be Duquesne students.

"The entire Duquesne University community is saddened and shocked," Dougherty said. "We're shocked because an event of this sort has never happened. It's a safe campus and known to be a safe campus."

Students wrestled with how the shootings could affect the reputation of their campus, long considered safe.

Freshman Harold Kolonich, walking with his parents near the campus Sunday night, had few worries.

"I still trust the atmosphere. Duquesne is still a safe campus," he said. "It's unfortunate stuff like that happens. It's a wonderful place to be."

Junior Katie Hauser, 20, of Latrobe, said she only attends Sunday evening Mass once in a while, but went Sunday because of the shooting.

"It's really good everyone came together," she said. "You feel a little bit closer."

Ralph Gigliotti, president of the student body, called the event "unprecedented."

"With the values we uphold here and believe in, I do not think this will harm our reputation."

Duquesne University is a private Catholic institution with nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

At the school's regular Sunday night Mass, the Rev. Timothy Hickey asked more than 300 students in the packed chapel to pray for the victims.

"As we come together we acknowledge our shock and sadness about what happened here," he said.

"Their healing is our utmost concern," Hickey said. "We are a tight-knit community, and what affects one of us affects all of us. We are family and we care for one another."

Everhart had rebuilt the school's program after being hired in March by bringing in 10 recruits -- one of the most sweeping upheavals of any Division I program in recent years.

Information from ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Last edited by NotThatGuy; 09-18-06 at 11:17 AM.

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