Jackson State University Suspends Classes Day After Fatal Shooting of Student

The death of JSU student Jaylen Burns is the latest gun violence incident to spoil HBCU homecoming season.

Jackson State University suspended classes Monday (Oct. 16) after a student was fatally shot on campus.

JSU's Acting President Elayne Hayes-Anthony identified the victim as Jaylen Burns, an industrial technology major from Chicago. He was taken to the hospital from campus following reports of gunfire Sunday (Oct. 15) at the University Pointe Apartment Complex on campus.

“We grieve the tragic loss of his life due to this senseless act of violence,” Hayes-Anthony said, adding that university officials beefed up security on campus “out of an abundance of caution.”

Authorities have not identified a suspect in the ongoing investigation, which includes the Jackson Police Department and Capitol Police.

Burns’ father, Jason Burns, told Chicago station WLS that his son was with one of his fraternity brothers at the time of the shooting. Burns’ frat brother was removing his property from his girlfriend’s apartment because the friend wanted to break up with her.

The girlfriend had invited people to her apartment, one of whom had a gun, Burns’ father said. Jaylen was shot while trying to break up a fight.

"He wasn't a violent kid; he didn't know anything about guns or fighting or gangs, you know, anything about that," Jason Burns said. "He just- I don't know, I never felt like this before in my life."

This is the second shooting connected to JSU over the homecoming weekend, the Clarion-Ledger reports. One person suffered a bullet wound to the leg from gunshots fired on Dalton Street at JSU on Saturday (Oct. 14).

However, JSU said the two individuals involved were unaffiliated with the university, and the shooting did not harm any students.

Jackson police found no connection between the two shooting incidents.

Gun violence has marred the 2023 HBCU homecoming season. Baltimore police are still searching for a second suspect after authorities arrested a 17-year-old male in Washington, D.C. Authorities charged the juvenile with multiple counts of attempted murder in the Oct. 3 shooting at Morgan State University that wounded five people.

On Oct. 7, two people were shot at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md. Authorities recovered a gun at the scene, but investigators are still searching for suspects.

Police Arrest Teen Suspect In Morgan State University Shooting

Burns was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and president of JSU’s C100 Chapter, an affiliate of the 100 Black Men of America.

"We recognize the family and the loss of life of the JSU student, Jaylen Burns. We join not only his family in condolences and our grief over their loss, but the entire JSU family,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said Monday (Oct. 16) at a press conference, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

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