Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

'Person of interest' sought in Paine College shootings case

  • Follow Crime & courts

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office named a person of interest in its investigation of four recent shootings on the Paine College campus and nearby neighborhood.

Back | Next
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree speaks during a news conference about the recent shootings on Paine's campus.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree speaks during a news conference about the recent shootings on Paine's campus.

They say Christopher Jackson, 26, who lives on Laurel Street, is someone they’d like to talk to about the Sunday shooting in Paine’s Gray Hall.

Jackson is believed to be traveling with Ulat Young, who also lives at the same Laurel Street address, and is possibly traveling in her tan or light gold 1999 Ford Crown Victoria with GA tag BRX8779, according to a news release.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree has called the investigation, which involves two campus shootings and two off-campus shootings on Laurel Street, “very complicated.”

Speaking at a Wednesday briefing, Roundtree said the shootings might have started over a “bad drug transaction.”

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

Roundtree pleaded for witnesses to come forward, saying there was much circumstantial evidence and several possible scenarios. Police offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

The dormitory shooting Sunday was followed by separate drive-by shootings on Laurel Street near the campus. A fourth shooting about 1 p.m. Monday in Haygood-Holsey Hall left student JaJuan Lawayne Baker, 21, of Wilmington, N.C., in critical condition with a head wound. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Xavier Deanthony Cooper, 20, a student from DeKalb County east of Atlanta, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm on school grounds. Police found him in a dormitory during a lockdown of the campus. The weapon has not been found.

Based on current information, investigators do not expect any additional or upgraded charges for Cooper.

According to Roundtree, police spoke with a witness who is an “associate” of Cooper. The witness was involved in a “bad drug transaction” with Baker before the shootings. Police also know one of the Laurel Street victims was on campus Sunday at the time of the first shooting.

“Right now that’s the only connection we have,” Roundtree said.

Roundtree said he could confirm whether the bad deal stems from the use of counterfeit money, but several Paine students were charged with possession of counterfeit money.

Officials also said several people, who were not students, had been banned from campus after being found on the property. Brandon Brown, vice president for academic advancement, said several students were sent home Tuesday for safety reasons. He would not clarify if the students had been expelled.

“We felt it would be in their best interests not to be here,” he said.

Police think more witnesses could help them connect the campus shootings to earlier incidents, like one several months ago where Cooper was assaulted at a business.

Cooper’s father told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday his son had lived in fear since the beginning of the semester after receiving death threats and at one point had started carrying a steel pipe for protection. The man said he had been in contact with school officials about the ongoing dispute.

Roundtree and Brown were not aware of any threats against Cooper, but Roundtree did say Cooper had been in contact with the sheriff’s office before this week’s incidents.

Roundtree said he believes there is no longer an active threat, but sheriff’s deputies will remain on the campus as the investigation continues. At the investigation’s end, the sheriff’s office will do a threat assessment to see if other safety measures are needed.

Brown said the school will continue to “move forward with its strategic plan” for student safety.

Roundtree praised Paine College’s police department for its actions.

Roundtree said Paine just happened to be a commonality between the shooter and victim and was therefore the location of the violence.

“We know they (Cooper and Baker) had ill will toward each other,” Roundtree said. “If they had worked together at a hardware store or grocery store the incident most likely would have happened there.”

Cooper, Baker and Jackson all have a criminal history.

The sheriff asked that anyone with information on Jackson’s whereabouts contact the sheriff’s office at (706) 821-1020 or 821-1080.

TIMELINE

4:46 p.m. Sunday: Police were called to Gray Hall at Paine College after shots were fired inside and outside of the mens dormitory. One student was injured by bullet fragments. The campus was deemed safe by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies.

12:26 a.m. Monday: Police were called to 1318 Laurel Street after about six shots were fired into the residence. Around mid-morning police returned to campus to interview possible witnesses to the Laurel Street shooting. While there, a second shooting was reported on Laurel Street.

11:59 a.m. Monday: Police were again called to 1318 Laurel Street after a vehicle drove by firing three to four shots at the residence. While investigators were there, another shooting was reported at Paine College.

1:01 p.m. Monday: Police were called to a shooting at Haygood-Holsey Hall with “one down.” JaJuan Lawayne Baker, 21, was shot in the head during the incident. The campus was placed on lockdown several hours.

Suspect Appears in Court

Xavier Deanthony Cooper, 20, made his initial appearance in Richmond County Magistrate Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Cooper, who is accused of shooting fellow Paine student JaJuan L. Baker, 21, at Haygood-Holsey Hall on Monday, faces charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm at school. The crimes carry a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

On Wednesday the judge went over all of the rights afforded to everyone accused of a crime. The judge explained to Cooper that he would not address bond. Because of Cooper’s arrest history, bond can be set only by a Superior Court judge.

– Sandy Hodson, staff writer

 

Can You Help?

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Christopher Jackson, 26, of Laurel Street, is asked to contact the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1020 or (706) 821-1080.

Comments (14) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 05/07/14 - 01:41 pm
10
1
Everyone isn't college material.

"Brandon Brown, vice president for academic advancement, also said several students were sent home Tuesday for safety reasons. He would not clarify if the students had been expelled.
“We felt it would be in their best interests not to be here,” he said."

Such a sad situation for an institution of higher learning.

When your "numbers" become more important than quality education, situations like this will happen.

Everyone isn't college material.

KSL
129739
Points
KSL 05/07/14 - 01:49 pm
9
1
Apparently some are not

Apparently some are not worthy of living in society.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 05/07/14 - 03:13 pm
8
1
Dang they should close the

Dang they should close the whole school with such obvious fears of more violence-seems negligent not to do so. What if another shooting occurs? Funny the Dad of Cooper said he was in contact with Paine. The sheriffs department admits he has contacted them but Paine acts like they have never heard of him. From the past criminal activity of the school and troubling lawsuits it makes them a bit suspect and lacking in trust-it makes you wonder if they are trying to cover up some kind of negligence. I smell lawsuits. I wondered what happened to all the other outstanding lawsuits the Chronicle has reported on? What about their SACS warning for two years now are they out of trouble? Or will this get them back in ?

Right on
187
Points
Right on 05/07/14 - 03:26 pm
8
2
Think about all the SPLOST

Think about all the SPLOST money which went to this private college and then many have problems with money going to the Cancer building at GRU(a public school). Money foolishly spent through the SPLOST. Think infrastructure and will it benefit all. If it doesn't, then I say no SLOST at all.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 05/07/14 - 03:56 pm
9
1
Righton, Well with all of

Righton, Well with all of Paine's legal troubles and SACS troubles it doesn't seem a good investment of the taxpayers money to go to Paine college with a record of financial mismanagement.

Pops
8514
Points
Pops 05/07/14 - 07:50 pm
8
3
Roundtree praised Paine College’s police department

for it's actions". Yeah......sounds like they are doing a bang up job.........
counterfeit money......drug gangs hanging around.........only the tip of the iceberg I bet.......Roundtree needs to just snap his fingers and solve this thang........he is magic, you know.....

Another thing.....if the Chronicle doesn't cease covering this story, they will be accused of racism......CNN dropped their coverage like a hot potato as soon as they found out the school shooter was non-white.......

dade30906
224
Points
dade30906 05/07/14 - 08:17 pm
1
8
What's complicated, we have a

What's complicated? We have a sheriff who don't know which way is up,and a team of incompetent investigators who never solved a crime with physical evidence,always worked with snitches to aid them with their investigation.

kissofdeath
413
Points
kissofdeath 05/07/14 - 08:37 pm
1
4
Look like all this sheriff's

Look like all this sheriff's office good for is setting up roadblocks that's not too complicated.

csraguy
2274
Points
csraguy 05/07/14 - 09:31 pm
10
1
Last few commenters...

It was the Sheriff's Office that apprehended the shooter in a very short time after the shooting. It was the Sheriff's Office that obtained information (more than likely from uncooperative persons) that has led to other suspects and arrests. The Investigators that Dade wishes to belittle maintain very impressive arrest/closure rates, far exceeding the state and national averages. This underfunded Sheriff's Office is preventing many crimes, solving most that occur and do so even with reduced funding and personnel from past years - the 40 something deputy positions that we de-funded a few years back have never been replaced.

If you think the Sheriff's Office and the fine men and women who work there are the problem or if you expect them to know every problem before it occurs in order to prevent it, you are living in fantasy land. These men and women work in a very difficult county and are achieving amazing results for the number of personnel vs. citizens they serve.

And, although the real blame should be placed where it belongs (on the criminals who commit crimes and are violent), it is past time for the Chronicle to do a story on what happens after the arrest. As you will see, both of these individuals have multiple arrests. Violent offenders need to be removed from our society but our court system is a revolving door full of repeat offenders. A small % of our population continue to terrorize the rest of us and use up the majority of police resources – put violent offenders where they belong and keep them there and these problems would begin to decrease.

motivationitis@yahoo.com
6
Points
motivationitis@yahoo.com 05/07/14 - 09:54 pm
2
0
Shooting On Paine's Campus

Sheriff Richard Roundtree, Richmond County Deputies, & Paine College Security: Great Job!!! I have family members at Paine! Praying for the safety of all students, innocent students injured, Paine College Staff, families, and our community. Praying for the victim, his family, and alleged shooter (s), & family as well. Father, keep a hedge of protection around our children, parents, families, Paine College staff, Sheriff, Law Enforcement Officers, all schools, leaders, colleges, Ministers, Counselors, and community.

dade30906
224
Points
dade30906 05/07/14 - 10:00 pm
2
0
How much more funding do you

How much more funding do you need to set of roadblocks? We need deputies post up in high crimes area where the thugs are floating,but they're occupying the little resources on roadblocks.He will have to answer to his constituency.

rebellious
20780
Points
rebellious 05/07/14 - 10:16 pm
3
1
Comedy of errors

This Sheriff is so over his head. All of the promises and assurances are just a pipe dream. The Paine admin looks like lottery winners fresh from a trip to H L Greenes. Security on campus is a joke, they still have the vindictive officer who tazed the guy. For Krissake, they had a shooting yesterday with the same people involved!

What a Keystone Cops episode. If real lives weren't at stake, it would be comical. Meanwhile, Augusta makes National news, and not in a good light. Imagine if we had a real Columbine situation.

Un flipping believable. I am genuinely ashamed of my city at this moment.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 05/08/14 - 08:25 am
0
0
I don't think Paine can

I don't think Paine can discriminate against a student with a prison record or committed a felony because the DOJ is trying to get all this populations rights restored-so discrimination because of a past crime isn't kosher now.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 05/08/14 - 08:26 am
0
0
Motivation they cancelled the

Motivation they cancelled the prayer vigil so I don't think Paine wants you to pray.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs