4 charged after shooting on JCSU campus

Johnson C. Smith University officials say a male student was sitting in a car on campus around 2:15 a.m. Sunday when he was shot after someone fired a weapon.
Johnson C. Smith University officials say a male student was sitting in a car on campus around 2:15 a.m. Sunday when he was shot after someone fired a weapon. WBTV

Johnson C. Smith leaders said they don’t want a Sunday morning shooting that left a student injured to affect the university’s relationship with the surrounding west Charlotte community.

The shooting happened about 2 a.m. during the Gym Jam, a party of about 300 mostly JCSU students that is held at the end of every school year.

Attendees – including some students from nearby universities – were searched with metal detectors. Those with weapons, contraband or who didn’t have student IDs were not let in, JCSU President Ronald Carter said during a Sunday news conference.

Four men, none of them students, were charged in connection with the shooting. The injured student was expected to be released from the hospital Sunday.

University leaders say they are reviewing campus security but don’t want the outbreak of violence to stop the university from being open and inviting to neighbors in northwest Charlotte.

“We work hand-in-hand with our partners in the northwest corridor,” Carter said. “We will not allow an isolated incident to change that.”

University officials said the men charged in the shooting had been turned away by security guards at the door about 1 a.m., but they returned to campus about 2 a.m. and began firing shots randomly into the air.

None of the men charged was a student at the university, said acting campus Police Chief Debra Duncan.

A male student was struck by a bullet once in his right shoulder as he sat in a vehicle outside Greenfield Hall about 2:15 a.m. His identity has not been released, and the injury is not considered life-threatening, authorities said.

Investigators said they don’t believe the student, a freshman from Charlotte, was the target.

The suspects sped off in a burgundy vehicle, with campus security and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in pursuit. The suspects were arrested after the driver crashed nearby on Beatties Ford Road at Russell Avenue.

Police seized three guns and marijuana from the wrecked vehicle.

Police said these men were charged:

Everett Phifer, 21, charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, shooting into an occupied vehicle, possession of a firearm on school grounds and discharging a firearm on school grounds.

Juan Leon, 20, charged with discharging a firearm on school property and possession of a firearm on school grounds

Elijah Craig, 20, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Shalique Edmond, 21, charged with possession of marijuana and failure to heed blue lights and a siren.

“The normal quiet of our campus was disturbed,” Carter said, and counselors will be available to students on Sunday and throughout the week.

An alert went out from the university Sunday morning to inform students of the shooting and to let them know the school was on lockdown. Students were encouraged to stay in their rooms until the curfew was lifted at 7 a.m.

“You obviously feel unsafe,” said Elgin Smith, a junior who lives in Greenfield Hall. “You think, ‘What if you were outside’ and ‘That could have been you.’”

Smith’s room is in the back of Greenfield, and he was asleep when the shooting occurred. He said he woke up about 4 a.m. and learned about the incident from the campus email alert and a friend’s post on Instagram.

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