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    U Memphis Student-Athlete Shot

    University of Memphis’ faced a shutdown on Monday, Oct. 1, as classes were canceled after the shooting of the school’s football athlete, Taylor Bradford.

    The event was reported to be random by the investigating police as no suspects were identified.

    Bradford, 21, was shot the day before around 9:45 PM near the school’s residential complex, causing his car to swerve and crash into a tree, 200 yards from his apartment. It is unclear whether he was shot before or after he started driving the car. He was then taken to the Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

    Earlier that night, Bradford was visiting sorority houses around campus with members of the fraternity house, Alpha Psi Kappa, to encourage participation in an upcoming event promoting diversity. He had gone back to his apartment for keys, according to one of the fraternity members.

    ‘It wasn’t until the paramedics got there that they determined there was a possible gunshot wound,’ said Bruce Harber, director of university police in a WRAL.com. Although the autopsy report is pending, it is known that Bradford was shot once.

    UM President Shirley Raines banned outsiders from visiting campus, although it was determined at the point that there was no threat to other students.

    An e-mail was sent to the University’s faculty, students and staff members at 3:40 AM on Monday that said ‘the initial investigation indicates this was an act directed specifically toward the victim and was not a random act of violence.’

    University spokesman Curt Guther said, ‘We feel like the campus is safe, but we’d rather err on the side of safety than not.’ UM, which is largely a commuter school, currently hosts over 20,000 students.

    City police are unsure as to the exact motive and are hesitant to declare it as a homicide. City Police Director Larry Godwin said, ‘We really don’t know whether it was a random act or whether or not this individual was targeted.’

    Witnesses to the scene place two men and gunfire at the crime scene. The identity of the men is undetermined.

    This is not the first of such an incident. A Mississippi sprinter, Rodney Lydale Lockhart, was shot on Saturday at his apartment in Oxford. His death is a confirmed homicide.

    Bradford, a junior who had transferred to UM from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., was a defensive lineman for the UM Tigers. Bradford held a clean record, and was a good kid, according to city police reports.

    On Monday afternoon, a large red ribbon was tied to the tree where Bradford’s car crashed along with a large poster board from friends to commemorate his death. A moment of silence was held at the Tuesday night game against Marshall University.

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