ATLANTA (AP) — Four college students were wounded when a gunman opened fire into a crowd of 200 people outside a library near Clark Atlanta University and then escaped in the chaos, authorities said.
All four injured women were in stable condition after the gunfire, which happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. None of their injuries were life-threatening, Atlanta police said.
The shooter had not yet been apprehended Wednesday morning.
The four students were shot outside a library that serves Clark Atlanta and other nearby historically black colleges.
The block party, held the night before the first day of classes, was celebrating the end of orientation for new students.
“Parents should send their kids away and think they’re OK,” Clark Atlanta junior Brooklyn Scott told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution .
Scott said the shooting underscores the need for more campus police officers and security measures.
“Anyone can get on this campus,” sophomore Jasmine Phelps told the newspaper.
On Wednesday, there was a heavy security presence on campus and in front of the library. A couple of Atlanta police officers stood on a corner across the street.
Investigators on Wednesday were checking surveillance cameras in the area, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos told The Associated Press. Police wouldn’t say what the cameras might have captured.
The gunshots began after an argument broke out between two parties and someone opened fire, investigators said. Video aired by WXIA-TV shows dozens of students running frantically after the gunshots were heard.
“It appears there were two separate groups that were targeting each other, and these people were just caught in the crossfire,” Atlanta police Capt. William Ricker told reporters.
Two of the victims are 17-year-old and 18-year-old students at Spelman College, a nearby all-women’s school. Investigators believe the other two women are 18-year-old and 19-year-old Clark Atlanta students, police said.
Clark Atlanta’s Office of Religious Life announced a prayer vigil for Wednesday evening. “Evil will not have its way on our campus,” it said on social media.
Some students Wednesday discussed the shooting among themselves as they walked past the library. Security guards did not permit interviews with the students in front of the library, which is private property.
“We are asking our faculty to be aware and prepared to support those students experiencing the effects of this incident, Lucille Maugé, Clark Atlanta’s interim president, said in a message to students.
Atlanta police routinely work with Clark Atlanta’s police department, as they do with campus police at other schools in the city such as Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“We’re always very much aware when school is open at the campuses inside the city of Atlanta and we do make a concerted effort to work closely with the campus police, and make sure we properly patrol our areas,” Campos said.