Tuskegee University Mourns Loss Of Student


By Catalina Trivino

It's the first day back for Tuskegee University students after a shooting takes the life of a classmate, all while authorities search for the person who did it.

Bobby Smith, better known as B.J., was fatally shot at a block party just outside of campus and students say emotions are running high today and they're hoping the killer is soon behind bars.

Tuskegee University student, Andrew Knight, is now left with only memories of his friend and teammate, B.J. Smith, who was murdered on East Church Street after someone shot him in the back.

 "I'm just surprised it was him out of all the hundreds of people who were there," said Knight.

Tuskegee Mayor, Johnny Ford, says the gunman, "fired several shots up in the air and when the crowd began to disperse, [the gunman] fired into the crowd and struck him in the back."

Knight says he was supposed to attend the party.

"I decided to go to bed instead and just take it easy and then I got the call saying it was mayhem out there," Said Knight.

[It] was mayhem that sent the 21-year-old tennis player to the hospital. Later, he was pronounced dead.

All that's left on the scene... a candle. And hopefully, evidence... that can lead investigators to the killer.

Now, police are on the search for the person who shot Smith. City leaders say they're patrolling the streets day and night. Until the killer is caught, students like Shantori Meadows , who decided not to attend the party, say they can't stop thinking about it.

"You can feel the emotions running.... sadness... a lot of people mourning. Don't know what do do. Many people that you see smiling on an everyday basis, even if they did not know the guy, they were still affected by it because he was also a Tuskegee student.

Tuskegee University President, Gilbert Rochon, released a statement about the fatal shooting saying: "The Tuskegee University community is mourning the unfortunate loss of one of our own. We are all deeply affected by this terrible incident. Our prayers and condolences are with the family of Bobby J. Smith."

Mayor Johnny Ford, says he has a message for the killer...

"That person can run... but they can't hide. They will be brought to justice," Said Ford.

The university is having counseling sessions today and tomorrow at the University Chapel. A memorial will also be held for Smith. 

Thanks Catalina. That memorial will be held Wednesday at 3 p.m. Authorities have not released a description of any potential suspects.

Alabama News Network will keep you updated on the latest developments on this investigation.

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