WCU’s chancellor, police chief issue statement about shooting

Posted Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m.

Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher and Police Chief Ernie Hudson have issued a statement to the campus community regarding a shooting that occurred at an apartment complex near campus Tuesday, Oct. 24. The statement appears in its entirety below:

Dear WCU Campus Community:

As you are aware, one of our students was shot Tuesday night at an off-campus apartment complex. The student suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and is currently home recovering from surgery. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is actively investigating the incident, and WCU police are assisting as appropriate. At this time, we do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community but, as always, we ask that everyone use good judgment regarding their safety as they go about their activities. We also ask that anyone with information regarding Tuesday night’s incident or other safety issues contact University Police at 828-227-8911.

As the investigation progresses, we will let the campus community know if circumstances change. As always, the WCU Police Department sends notifications through email in situations where community members should be aware of an incident. Should a situation be determined to represent an immediate threat to the community, multiple levels of communication are activated including phone and text messaging that will include specific instructions. As a tangible reminder of their presence, WCU police officers have been asked to increase their visibility through foot patrols of residence halls and academic buildings. These dedicated officers understand that the safety of our students and campus community is paramount.

Understandably, many of you may have concerns and questions in the wake of this unfortunate event, which comes on the heels of a previous violent incident. Violent crimes of this type are not normal for our community or our campus. We rightfully have felt safe and secure in this valley, and we take pride in that fact. However, we cannot and should not let this type of incident define us. Nor should we allow these negative acts to take those feelings of safety and security away from us. Those persons who engage in illegal, violent or destructive behaviors will be held accountable by the appropriate authorities. Rest assured that we at WCU remain united in our efforts to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our students, our faculty and staff, and for all visitors to our campus.

Sincerely yours,

Chancellor David O. Belcher

Chief Ernie Hudson

Posted: Oct. 25, 10:58 a.m.

The Western Carolina University Police Department is cooperating with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of a shooting that occurred on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 24, at an off-campus apartment complex.

The university released the following statement to the campus community Wednesday, Oct. 25:

The safety of our students is our top priority. We are distressed at the news that a member of the university community was wounded in a shooting that occurred at an off-campus apartment complex last night. Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with the student and his loved ones. We understand that incidents of this nature affect the entire university community. Resources are available for those who may need them. Campus community members should contact the Division of Student Affairs at 828-227-7147.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigating agency in this matter because this incident took place off campus. The WCU Police Department and the university are cooperating fully with local law enforcement. Anyone with any information in this case is asked to contact either the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 828-586-8901 or the WCU Police Department at 828-227-7301.