Around 1 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, Najee Ali Baker, a 21-year-old Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) student, was shot during an altercation on the Wake Forest University campus. Baker had been attending a party at The Barn, a space on campus used to host events.
Baker was quickly transported to the hospital; however, he was unable to withstand the injuries and sadly passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Baker, a walk-on defensive lineman for the football team, had recently transferred to WSSU in early 2017 after having previously attended Dean College in Franklin, MA.
The event at The Barn on Friday night was hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and was attended by a number of students from both Wake Forest and WSSU. After a fight broke out, investigators reported, a gunshot was fired.
In a message to Wake Forest students on Saturday morning, President Nathan Hatch said he was “deeply saddened” to report on the events that took place and that the Winston-Salem Police Department is leading the investigation of the campus murder with help from the Wake Forest Police.
Furthermore, Hatch mentioned that both Wake Forest and WSSU would be supplying additional support and security to students and faculty in the following days. He stated there are a number of available resources and support systems on campus for anyone struggling with the events of early Saturday morning, including the Counseling Center, the Chaplain’s Office and the Employee Assistance Program.
In a message to the WSSU community regarding Baker’s murder, Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson said, “It is times like these that remind us of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing one another. As a Ram Family, we must remain united during this difficult time. We must support one another, uplift one another and care for one another through the coming days.”
While the incident on campus seems to be isolated, the suspect still is yet to be found. It is a very troubling moment for both the Wake Forest and WSSU communities and certainly has made Wake Forest students consider and question safety on campus.
The Winston-Salem Police Department is still investigating the event and asks anybody with information about to the shooting to contact WSPD at 336-773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.