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Gunman shoots, wounds 2 students at Delaware State

The Associated Press
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Related: Police name two DSU students 'persons of interest'

Campus security checks the I.D. of the driver of a vehicle trying to enter college grounds at Delaware State University in Dover, Del., Friday morning (AP Photo/Gary Emeigh)
DOVER, Del. — Authorities at Delaware State University are questioning a student considered "a person of interest" in this morning's shootings on the campus mall that wounded two other students, the school's police chief said.

Chief James Overton said officers are still searching for a second student they believe was involved, and that the campus of about 3,700 students remains closed. Students are being confined to their dormitories, but parents are being allowed onto campus to take them home.

The identities of the victims have not been released, but Overton said they are a male and female, both 17 years old and from Washington, D.C.

The male was shot once and is in stable condition at Kent General Hospital in Dover. The female is in serious condition at Christiana Hospital in Newark.

Speaking at a news conference, Overton gave the first public account of the early morning shooting. He said that sometime after midnight, eight to 10 students left the Village Café, a campus eatery that recently extended its hours to 3 a.m. to accommodate students up late at night.

Delaware State University student Devin Jackson, right, talks with a member of law enforcement as he leaves campus in Dover, Del., Friday..(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
He said the group of students dispersed and then later ended up on a pedestrian mall between Grossley Hall and Memorial Hall. Overton said one person in the group took out a gun and fired four to six shots, hitting the two victims.

Students were notified of the shootings in person by advisers, by phone calls and text messages and on the university's Web site. School officials at Virginia Tech were criticized for failing to quickly warn their students of a shooting on campus in April that eventually led to deaths of 32 students.

Carlos Holmes, a university spokesman, said that students are being asked to remain in their dormitories, but were escorted by police at 11 a.m. to get lunch. Parents were being allowed onto campus to take their children home, and students were being allowed to leave if they wished.

Holmes said students for the most part adhered to the rules. "They understand the lessons of the tragedy earlier this year," he said, referring to Virginia Tech. As for the suspect being sought, Holmes said, "We would hope that he's gone by now, but given the lessons of this past year, we cannot assume that he is not on campus."

One student, Alex Bishoff, 20, said he heard five gunshots from his dorm room. He said that a few minutes later, a resident adviser knocked on every door on the floor. "It was to keep a count of people," Bishoff said. "That's the point. They went from room to room."

But Bishoff said that after the warnings and orders to stay put, he left his dorm -- one of three main residence halls on campus -- to see what was happening. "I'm not going to sit in my room like everything's sweet," he said. "I went outside."

The freshman criminal justice student from Washington said he saw people running around and the man who had been wounded limping.

Austin Dickerson, a 19-year-old sophomore from Elkins Park, Pa., said he heard a knock on his door, apparently from a resident adviser, but said no one told him the check was being made. He said he found out about the shooting later this morning when his father called.

His mother, Jody Dickerson, was driving him home today. "It's very upsetting," she said. "I cry not only for my son but for the other children who were in harm's way."

She said she might pull her son out of school. "He's been quite upset," Dickerson said. "He's taking it very hard."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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