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Suspect held, student critical in Paine shooting

Suspect held after second shooting in 2 days

Monday, May 5, 2014 9:26 AM
Last updated Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:20 AM
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A 20-year-old man is in custody after a shooting at Paine College that left one student critically injured Monday, police said. The violence happened less than 24 hours after a separate shooting on the campus.

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Xavier Cooper faces charges  Richmond County Jail photo
Richmond County Jail photo
Xavier Cooper faces charges

Xavier Cooper, of Augusta, was booked at 10:41 p.m. Monday with charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm on school grounds.

The charges followed two days of gunplay at Paine.

About 1 p.m., Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were called to Haygood-Holsey Hall, a building housing classrooms and Paine’s administrative offices, Chief Deputy Pat Clayton said.

Deputies found 21-year-old JaJuan Lawayne Baker of Wil­ming­ton, N.C., on the third floor with a single gunshot wound to the left side of his head, above the ear, according to a sheriff's office incident report. He was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center.

In a news conference at Paine’s HEAL Complex, Clayton read a joint statement from the sheriff’s office and Paine College, announcing that a suspect had been taken into custody. The suspect was found in a dormitory on campus.

“We’re being told by that particular person that he is a student here,” Clayton said. “We’ve yet to be able to confirm that.”

Investigators said the shooting was the result of a fight but would not elaborate. The weapon used had not been located Monday night.

Allen Meadows, a junior at Paine, was on the fourth floor of Haygood-Hosey Hall waiting for the start of his business applications class when he heard a commotion below him.

“We just heard this rumbling, so we thought it was a fight,” he said. “When we went outside of the classroom, I heard two shots. They told us to go back in.”

For about an hour, Meadows was locked in a classroom with four other people while police canvassed the building.

“We were scared,” he said. “At that time, they said the shooter was still loose and they didn’t know where he was in the building.”

Meadows was able to call home to tell his family he was safe. After the building was cleared, he and his classmates were whisked away to the HEAL Complex until the lockdown ended.

He said Baker was a classmate.

On Sunday afternoon, deputies were called to assist Paine police in a shooting at Gray Hall, one of the school’s dormitories. Authorities were still searching Monday night for two men who fired shots there, injuring a student.

Two students told police they were coming down the stairs in Gray Hall when they saw two armed black men in the building.

The students ran from the building as the gunmen fired shots inside the building before continuing to
fire outside, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

A student who was seated outside the building was hit in the shoulder by bullet fragments. One of the fleeing students was injured when he fell while running. Both students took themselves to Georgia Regents Medical Center.

Witnesses told deputies that a burgundy Toyota was seen leaving the area after the shooting.

Clayton said it is unclear whether the incidents are related.

“We are still in the embryotic stages of the investigation,” he said.

When asked about measures the college took to ensure student safety after the first shooting, Brandon Brown, the senior vice president for institution advancement, pointed to a beefed-up police presence Monday morning.

“We took our measures in place with our emergency notification system and engaged students, letting them know what had transpired last evening,” he said.

“Under the direction of our campus police chief, Chief Nelson, he also added additional officers on duty this morning. We’ve also beefed up the presence of patrol(s) here on campus along the perimeter.”

Despite Sunday’s shooting, Meadows said he had no reason to feel unsafe at school Monday.

“I feel they actually did all they could,” he said. “When I arrived this morning, they did ID checks and vehicle searches. They did what they had to do.”

Richmond County sheriff’s investigators and Georgia State Patrol troopers spent more than three hours performing a room-to-room search on the locked-down campus after Monday’s shooting.

About 3:30 p.m., police announced that a person of interest was in custody, and a red Nissan Altima, identified as the suspect’s vehicle, was towed from campus. Clayton said the sheriff’s office was obtaining search warrants on the vehicle.

Nearby Georgia Regents University and several public schools in the immediate area also took security measures.

Twelve Richmond County schools locked down in response to the shooting: Lucy C. Laney High School, The Academy of Richmond Coun­ty, the Alternative Education Center, Collins Elementary School, John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, Langford Middle School, Tutt Middle School, Lamar-Milledge Elementary School, T.W. Josey High School, A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School, C.T. Walker Magnet School and Monte Sano Elementary School.

With one suspect in custody, Clayton said, the school should resume today with an “augmented” police force.

“I believe the campus will be safe enough for them to come to school in the morning,” he said.

Paine will have a candlelight vigil today at noon at Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. 

Staff Writer Doug Stutsman contributed to this story.

THE TWO SHOOTINGS

SUNDAY

4:46 p.m.: Richmond County sheriff’s deputies respond to Paine College in reference to shots fired at Gray Hall. Upon arrival, authorities find bullet fragments and shell casings in the lobby of Gray Hall. Two people, Robert Arthur Bines and Terrell Armstrong Robinson, go to Georgia Regents Medical Center for treatment for injuries. Robinson, 20, said he was struck in the right shoulder by fragments.

MONDAY

1 p.m.: Richmond County sheriff’s deputies respond to Paine College in reference to a shooting at Haygood-Holsey Hall. A 21-year-old student is found with a gunshot wound to the head. The campus is immediately put on lockdown.

3:30 p.m.: Police announce that a person of interest is in custody, and a vehicle is towed away. The 20-year-old male suspect is found during a search of the dormitories and taken into custody. 

10:41 p.m.: Xavier Cooper, of Augusta, was booked on  charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm on school grounds.

Comments (35) Add comment
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Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/05/14 - 12:16 pm
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Turn over the

Turn over the investigation-shouldn't Richmond county been called first to investigate? Nothing against the Paine public safety.

etlinks
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etlinks 05/05/14 - 12:33 pm
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What is a Toyota Rukus?

What is a Toyota Rukus?

bdouglas
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bdouglas 05/05/14 - 12:36 pm
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A Toyota Rukus is a Scion Xb

A Toyota Rukus is a Scion Xb in Australia. Apparently Bianca is now Australian...

KSL
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KSL 05/05/14 - 01:45 pm
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Just got a text message from

Just got a text message from the AC. What the hell is "a possible shooting"?

Pops
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Pops 05/05/14 - 01:59 pm
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Sounds like

some thugs have a problem with some Paine students........hope they get to the bottom of it before someone innocent gets hurt or killed.......

KSL
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KSL 05/05/14 - 02:20 pm
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I totally agree. But I still

I totally agree. But I still want to know what a possible shooting means. It sounds like we are to INFER deeper meaning.

bdouglas
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bdouglas 05/05/14 - 02:22 pm
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Possible shooting = Shots

Possible shooting = Shots were fired, possibly hitting someone. What's so hard about that?

bdouglas
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bdouglas 05/05/14 - 02:42 pm
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FYI, today's shooting...

FYI, today's shooting... Officers are looking for a black male, approximately 5’ 8”, 160 lbs, wearing black jeans, a white t-shirt, a red hat, and shoes with green and white laces.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/05/14 - 02:49 pm
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Which GRU Campus

This GRU campus thing is confusing. Which campus is on lockdown? I assume the MCG campus is the right one? Is the hospital still open?

bdouglas
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bdouglas 05/05/14 - 02:52 pm
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@RM

Health Sciences campus (aka, MCG) is on lockdown. Hospital is open. Officers posted at all entrances to each place.

bdouglas
4899
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bdouglas 05/05/14 - 03:22 pm
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Suspect is now in custody.

Suspect is now in custody. All clear given for medical center and all GRU campuses.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/05/14 - 03:37 pm
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A second shooting OMG I would

A second shooting OMG I would hate to be a student or faculty there-they must be terrified. I was going to say I have a friend who works there but I no longer see their name on their listing. Good grief looks like most of their faculty has changed in every department since I last checked-what's with all the turnover?

Jbmurray
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Jbmurray 05/05/14 - 03:55 pm
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Paine college shooting

It's by the grace of God that only one person was injuries.Those of us who know the owesome power of and the protection that God can give to our students,let's pray and declare that the enemies tactics are rendered powerless and our college(Paine) can go on in the name of Jesus.

Marinerman1
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Marinerman1 05/05/14 - 04:04 pm
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Too Bad

Too bad they were not able to take the shooter out. Now, we will have to feed, clothe, and provide shelter. I'm sure this pillar of the community was licensed, and carrying a legally registered firearm. It is time to take a few out, to make others realize that this is not correct behavior, and that they need to find a better way to "express" themselves.

KSL
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KSL 05/05/14 - 04:13 pm
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Bdoug. I am an English major.

Bdoug.

I am an English major. There was shooting or there was not a shooting.

What is so hard about that? Now, let's talk about a possible shooting of people.

Can't we be specific? Or have we become too illiterate?

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/05/14 - 04:32 pm
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I am with you murray and pray

I am with you murray and pray for the students, faculty and staff. It sounds like it is outsiders causing all this problem. Perhaps the school need to enclose with a fence.

kiwiinamerica
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kiwiinamerica 05/05/14 - 05:33 pm
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A SECOND shooting in two days??
Unpublished

What's wrong with this picture, folks??

Is it just me or was the response to the first shooting just a tad....er......casual?

Unless the perp responsible for the first shooting had already been apprehended, the place should have been swamped with security, shouldn't it?

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 05/05/14 - 07:14 pm
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"The safety of downtown

"The safety of downtown Augusta speaks for itself and the same people always predict the sky is falling in Augusta"

Act II

countyman
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countyman 05/05/14 - 07:27 pm
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Sad!!

The boundaries of the CBD don't include Paine College....

Are you really comparing these incidents to random street crime?

dichotomy
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dichotomy 05/05/14 - 07:48 pm
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It's a random street crime if

It's a random street crime if you are going down the street and catch a stray bullet. That's about as random as it gets.

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 05/05/14 - 08:21 pm
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Morbid

Crime has a way of not respecting borders... even in the CBD

It's violent crime.... random or premeditated

KSL
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KSL 05/05/14 - 08:47 pm
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With or within cm's border's

With or within cm's border's of downtown. I am only going there armed or with armed friends.

KSL
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KSL 05/05/14 - 10:39 pm
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Not spending splost money for

Not spending splost money for sure.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/06/14 - 12:56 am
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Bizkit, Paine has had a huge

Bizkit, Paine has had a huge turnover because it is nearly bankrupt.

And only in Augusta would a nearly bankrupt college want sales tax money to build a fancy building.

csrareader
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csrareader 05/06/14 - 05:16 am
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Those gun free zone signs

Those gun free zone signs don't work very well.

nocnoc
41129
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nocnoc 05/06/14 - 06:33 am
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Care and Understanding vs. Real World Reality

GUN FREE CAMPUS
Was an peace loving, lets all get along, please not here, attempt to designate a Safe Zone.

IN THE REAL WORLD
It carries a imbedded mental thought for Nut Jobs, crooks, thugs just plain evil people. SAFE TO FIRE AT WILL.

If I were writing an Lessons Learned / After Action Report on this incident mu conclusions reached from this 2 day incident would be:
(These are all based on the limited info gleaned over the last 2 days listening to the various Media reports.

* the idea of having a few spread out Campus security personnel armed or un-armed did not work.

* The campus has to almost wide open access given its location to problem areas.

* Given reports there does not appear to be a Campus Wide Alert system for such incidents or other emergencies.

* Restricting defensive weapons to Campus Police/Security Personnel did not deter the shooter and may have added to the situation.

* Does not appear to be a emergency action plan in place or the campus failed to know or follow it.

* Does not appear to be a emergency evacuation plan for injured students in place or one known to the students.

* There appears to be little of no ability for students or teachers to quickly initiate a campus- wide panic Button type alarm. It appears the Admin offices must be contacted and they must start the process.

* An SOP/Policy needs to be written regarding quick turn over to RCSO.

Summary:
Given the VA. tech incident it appears America's College's still have yet to learn, or have chose not to, or can't afford proper campus safety.

This leaves Students and Faculty in a dangerous undefended situation for the random NUT JOBS and criminals that see easy access, time to accomplishment their goal.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 05/06/14 - 06:39 am
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Some levity

Where was GRU Officer Martin ?☺

raul
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raul 05/06/14 - 07:00 am
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@nocnoc. Polishing his taser.

@nocnoc. Polishing his taser.

The Mick
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The Mick 05/06/14 - 07:09 am
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nocnoc

This is a terrible tragedy, but that is the first thing I thought of to! FINALLY he would have had a LEGIT reason to skin out his firearm and shoot somebody. But then again, this guy had a gun and "THE TASER" only shoots the unarmed.

karradur
2848
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karradur 05/06/14 - 07:16 am
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Congratulations, Augusta!

You are now the subject of an embarrassing front-page story on CNN.com!

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/06/justice/paine-college-shootings/index.html...

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