Richmond deputies quietly leave Paine

Deputies check out a car last Monday



One week after a series of shootings at and near Paine College, Richmond County sheriff’s deputies have stopped providing additional security on the school campus.

Deputies were stationed around the clock at the 15th Street campus to assist the Paine College police department since the latest shooting on May 5, in which student JaJuan Lawayne Baker, 21, was shot in the head in Haygood-Holsey Hall.

Sgt. Michael McDaniel said Monday the sheriff’s office left the campus after the college’s commencement ceremony ended Sunday.

“They had the graduation ceremony ... and we wanted to make sure everyone was able to enjoy the day,” McDaniel said.

One arrest has been made in the four connected shootings, which police suspect are linked to drug purchases. Police are offering a $2,000 reward for more information that leads to a conviction.

The shootings began the afternoon of May 4, a Sunday, when shots were fired in Gray Hall on campus. Back-to-back drive-by shootings followed the next morning at nearby Laurel Street before the 1 p.m. shooting at Haygood-Holsey Hall.

Xavier Cooper, a 20-year-old student, was charged with the May 5 campus shooting after he was found in a dormitory during a lockdown of the campus.

Police also named Christopher Jackson, 26, a person of interest in the case. Jackson, who lived on Laurel Street, was interviewed by investigators but not held.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree said in a news conference Wednesday that he believed the campus and its students were safe despite the recent gunplay.

“We don’t think this was a random act,” he said. “We think it was a targeted shooting.”