Dr. Keenum comments on Sat. night shooting

March 25, 2012

We are here today to discuss a tragic event that occurred on our campus last night. But because of the ongoing investigation, we are limited in what we can share with you today. However, here are the facts as we know them this morning:

At approximately 10 p.m., last night campus police received notification of an incident in Evans Hall, a male residence hall, and responded immediately. The MSU Police Department was on the scene within one minute of receiving the emergency call. They found a male student with what appeared to be serious injuries; he was transported to Oktibbeha County Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately could not be saved. He has been identified as John Sanderson, age 21, of Madison, Mississippi.

This is the first time in our school's history that such a tragic incident has occurred, involving a student being shot on campus. Our campus is known as a safe place, and I want to assure students, parents, faculty, and staff that it continues to be safe. Safety is paramount at all times, and we have emergency response plans in place to maintain the safest environment possible. These procedures were executed quickly and effectively last night.

Our campus Crisis Action Team was convened immediately and began monitoring developments and coordinating response. Our police department stepped up patrols, assisted by officers from the City of Starkville and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's office. Throughout the night and into this morning, we have kept the campus informed of developments through our Maroon Alert emergency notification system. But we have had no indication that there is a danger to others and we believe this was an isolated incident. We go to great lengths to address safety issues on our campus.

Our Bulldog Family is saddened by this event and the loss of one of our students. Our hearts go out to John Sanderson's family and friends. They continue to be in our prayers.

Our university police department is leading the investigation, working closely with Starkville Police, Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office, and the Mississippi Highway Patrol. They are actively following all leads. We appreciate their hard work and their support. I also want to reiterate to parents and students that our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our campus and all who inhabit it.