Student stabbed in brawl at VSU
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Oct 18, 2013, 14:57
CHESTERFIELD — A series of fights and a stabbing prompted Virginia State University to lock down campus during homecoming week Wednesday evening.
VSU spokesman Tom Reed said a fight broke out at a bazaar for student groups on University Avenue.
Several hundred people were at the event when the incident started around 5:45 p.m.
The fight led to other altercations and one student was stabbed in the leg.
The campus was locked down around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and it was lifted at 7 a.m. Thursday. It did not disrupt classes, which started at 8 a.m.
“Enacting lockdown is not a decision made lightly. Our decision was made with our students’ safety foremost in mind. We had a very quiet evening,” VSU president Keith Miller said in a statement.
The school’s emergency alert system was activated, notifying students and faculty by text message, voice mail and email about the incident and that people should stay inside.
Chesterfield County police, Petersburg deputies and police, Colonial Heights police and the State Police also were called in to provide assistance.
“Due to the nature of the incident, we requested additional security from surrounding jurisdictions,” Reed said.
The student who was stabbed was treated at a local hospital and released.
Miller said police have identified a potential suspect with the help of witnesses and a video posted online.
“Wednesday’s incident is not indicative of the campus culture at VSU. Those involved will be held responsible for their actions, both by the University and, through the criminal justice system,” Miller said.
Reed said the incident wouldn’t affect other events related to homecoming, but the university is taking steps to increase security. Several police cars were seen patrolling up and down University Avenue on Thursday afternoon.
Students seemed unfazed, with many strolling through campus dressed up for the Kings and Queens Ball. The school’s marching band practicing in an open field not far from where the fights broke out the night before.
VSU freshman Victoria Mosby said she isn’t bothered by the incident and said it was an isolated incident.
“Stuff happens everywhere,” she said.
Freshman Tubriel Boothe said this was just a “freak incident,” and he hasn’t seen ongoing problems at the school.
“I still feel safe. I don’t feel differently about my university,” he said.
Boothe said he was bothered by the lockdown either.
He said he supports “whatever they have to do to keep us safe.”
Brie Strong, a junior at VSU, said she heard the commotion outside of her building.
“It definitely doesn’t make us look very good,” she said, but it will just be a temporary blow to the school’s reputation.
“People still say it’s a pretty good school,” Strong said.