In the middle of midterm week, Hampton University students were shaken by a triple shooting that occurred near the edge of their campus.
On Oct. 19, a Wednesday, three men were shot in the Hampton Harbors Apartments complex on Mariners Cove Road, less than a mile away from the college. Twenty-year-old Kevin Neal was pronounced dead on the scene, while the other unnamed victims are expected to survive. While the off-campus housing is mostly filled with African-American students, Hampton University released a statement saying that no students were harmed.
“Last night there was a shooting at the Hampton Harbor apartment complex, which is close to the Hampton University campus. There were no Hampton University students involved.
Although Hampton Harbor is off campus and is managed by a private management company, Hampton University officials are concerned about the violence that occurred,” a Hampton University spokesperson said in a statement.
With a homicide within walking distance of the school’s dorms, library and health center, many students are questioning their safety.
“I heard the actual shots coming from the corner of my room.” Anthony Winn, a Hampton student and resident of the complex, told the AFRO. “When we walked outside to check everything one of the victims who got shot was lying on our steps literally right next to our door.”
Winn’s apartment was next door to where the incident took place. After witnessing the aftermath of the shooting, he later gave statements to the police.
“These are mostly college kids. You don’t really hear about shootings that much on Hampton’s campus,” said Winn. “It’s not very often that people bring out guns… that people get shot and die.”
While Hampton Harbor Apartments is off campus and not owned by the school, many students reside in that community. After the school received a surplus of incoming freshman this year, some on-campus students and resident assistants were placed in the apartment complex.
Some say they find it hard to concentrate on their midterms amid such chaos.
“This is terrible timing. Everyone’s down in their dumps, studying for their exams, getting stressed out; especially after homecoming it was a big shock. It definitely did not help the midterm blues,” Hampton student and apartment resident Joshua Reed told the AFRO.
“Hampton University officials are concerned about the violence that occurred. Because there are a number of students who reside in the complex, we will continue our partnership with local authorities to protect all of the residents and ensure the safety of our students, which is our number one priority,” Hampton University wrote in their statement.
While the school is working towards creating a more secure environment, many Hampton students no longer feel safe in their own campus community.
“I close my eyes, and I still see that man who got shot lying on the steps or being carried out on the stretcher. What bothers me the most about that situation is that I couldn’t help but see myself in him especially seeing how close it is to where I stay like that could have been me,” said Winn. “Now I’m paranoid whenever I’m going anywhere.