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Five Duquesne Basketball Players Are Shot

September 18, 2006|From the Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Five Duquesne basketball players were shot on campus early Sunday, leaving at least one critically injured, after some of them tried to calm a man who apparently had been disruptive at a dance, officials said.

Police searched for the gunman, and the downtown school stepped up its round-the-clock police protection with armed university police officers guarding dormitories and other buildings.

Two players had been walking near a dorm when they encountered a man who apparently had been disruptive at a student-union dance, authorities said. The players attempted to pacify him and walked away but were shot. Players who rushed to their aid were also shot.

The gunman and a group of people with him were not students, university President Charles Dougherty said. Several witnesses saw the gunman leave the campus after the shooting.

In critical condition was forward Sam Ashaolu of Toronto, a transfer from Lake Region State College and a cousin of former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon. In serious condition was Stuard Baldonado of Colombia, a transfer from Miami Dade College who was considered the school's best recruit.

Also hospitalized was Kojo Mensah, a guard from New York City who averaged nearly 17 points last season at Siena College before transferring, school officials said at a news conference Sunday. His condition was not released.

Treated and released were Shawn James of New York City, the nation's leading shot blocker last season at Northeastern before transferring to Duquesne; and Aaron Jackson of Hartford, Conn., a guard who is one of two returning players from Duquesne's 3-24 team last season.

Witnesses reported seeing two guns, Dougherty said, but he couldn't confirm whether both were fired. The second gun was seen on someone in a group with the gunman, Dougherty said.

Six to 12 shots were fired, he said. He did not know what sparked the violence.

"What motive can there be for unloading a pistol into a group of students?" Dougherty said.

James, an NBA prospect, was shot in the foot, but no bones were broken. Mensah was believed shot in the shoulder. Jackson was shot in the hand.

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