Man charged after student shot in head at Georgia college

Reuters News
Posted: May 06, 2014 12:57 PM

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A 20-year-old man has been charged with shooting a fellow student in the head after an apparent fight in a classroom building at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, sheriff's officials said on Tuesday.

Xavier Cooper of Augusta, who identified himself as a student at the college, was charged late Monday with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm and having a weapon in a school, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

The two students may have had an altercation before Cooper opened fire on Monday afternoon, sheriff's officials said, prompting the school to be locked down as a security measure for about four hours.

Law enforcement said the male student who was shot, JaJuan Lawayne Baker, 21, of Wilmington, North Carolina, received a life-threatening injury. Georgia Regents Medical Center in Augusta declined to comment on the victim's condition on Tuesday, citing patient privacy.

The incident followed another shooting on Sunday afternoon at the school. One student was injured by debris from a blast through a wall after a gun was fired in a male residence hall.

It was not immediately clear if the two shootings were related, officials said.

Paine College has more than 800 students and is located some 140 miles east of Atlanta, according to its website.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal last month signed a broad expansion of the state's gun carry rights into law, allowing legal gun owners to take weapons into bars, churches and government buildings under certain conditions.

The Republican-controlled state legislature, which passed the measure in March, opted not to allow gun owners to take weapons onto college campuses.

(Reporting by David Beasley; editing by G Crosse and Colleen Jenkins)