President's Message to Parents Regarding Shooting
To the Parents of Duquesne Students:
As you know, our Duquesne community was shocked and saddened by a shooting on campus. It is a shock because this is an unprecedented event on campus. We have established a track record of safety as a University that is truly outstanding.
It is sad because five of our students, all basketball players, were attacked by an unaffiliated gunman. Two, perhaps three, of the wounded have more minor injuries and have been or will shortly be released from the hospital. Two others, however, have been hurt seriously.
We do not now know all the details, but it appears that the shooter attended a Saturday evening social event on campus. After the event, he apparently had words with a group of our basketball players also in attendance. Our students thought the issue had been resolved and walked away when the shooter began to fire into the group.
There is no doubt that our students are the victims. They had no weapons. There is no evidence of alcohol or drug use among our athletes. They did nothing to provoke this sort of violent response. Indeed, we are proud of our basketball team and the many other Duquesne students who pulled the injured away from the scene, provided first aid, and ensured timely access to professional medical treatment.
Immediately after firing, the gunman and those with him fled the campus. We believe that after the shooting and their immediate departure, that no other Duquesne students were at risk.
There were campus policemen on duty at the social event and on campus afterwards. They report that there was no reason to expect trouble, no less an incident of this magnitude. Our police are trained and reliable professionals with many years of campus experience.
The Pittsburgh Police have information about the shooter and are pursuing him. We increased our police presence on campus and have made crisis counseling available to our students. Appropriate religious responses are being planned.
We believe that our campus is now safe and secure and we are making every effort to insure that this continues to be the case. We will commence an internal investigation to be sure that we acted appropriately throughout and to see if there are other security measures we should take.
I ask for your prayers and support for our injured and for Duquesne University. I also ask for your patience in this trying time. Many unfounded rumors spread through campuses in moments like this. You may hear some incredible things from your child. Before reacting, please consider that they may indeed not be credible. For the latest information from the University, please consult our DU Daily at http://www.dudaily.duq.edu.
Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D.
This release was posted on Sunday, September 17th, 2006 at 4:19 pm