SAU students mourn friend shot and killed on campus Tuesday morning, university officials say the shooting was an isolated incident

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MAGNOLIA, Ark. (8/11/20) — Students and faculty at Southern Arkansas University are mourning the loss of a student that was shot and killed on the first day of the school year.

Joshua Smith, a senior who was studying engineering, was shot in the parking lot of the Donald Reynolds Campus and Community Center around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“That just made it worse and to have to come to school,” Dwayne Coleman, senior at SAU said.

Coleman met Smith their freshman year of college. He had just spoken with Smith Monday. Coleman lives in Texarkana and commutes to campus.

He told Smith he would be staying with him in-between classes. He heard the news about his college friend when he woke up Tuesday morning and saw an email from University President, Dr. Trey Berry.

“It felt like a nightmare,” he said. “I just felt like I was still sleeping and it was just all fake. There was no way I wouldn’t see my friend again but it was true. I was crying the whole way to Magnolia because the closer I got, the more real it got.”

Students on campus say they were just as shocked.

“It’s real different I never thought this was would happen so close to home,” Blake May said.

May is a freshman student from Dallas who lives on campus. He was asleep when the shooting happened and didn’t hear anything.

Although, when he heard Smith was the victim in the shooting, he couldn’t help but feel sadness because he just met Smith over the weekend.

“I never caught any negative vibes from him,” May said. “He was just outgoing.”

University police say Smith lives off campus. He and two other off-campus students met individuals in the parking lot of the campus and community center. Police don’t believe those individuals are associated with the university.

“This incident was not random, and at no time were other students, faculty, or staff endangered,” university officials said in a statement.

Drew Lawson, also a senior, spent three years living on campus. He said he’s never felt unsafe at all.

While the university police searches for the shooter, students are hoping to continue the school year despite the tragedy.

“I hope that brings us together as a community, As a family, as a school so we can just move forward from this,” Lawson said.

Anyone who believes they have additional information about the shooting is urged to contact University Police at 870-235-4100.


Student killed at SAU Magnolia after early morning shooting

MAGNOLIA, ARK. (08/11/2020)– One Southern Arkansas University student is dead, another injured after a shooting on the college campus.

The name of the student shot and killed this morning on the campus of Southern Arkansas University Magnolia has been released. The school posting on it’s Facebook page, that student is Joshua Keshun Smith.

Smith was a senior engineering physics major from Sparkman, Arkansas.

The university says at approximately 12:31 A.M., three students living off-campus met “individuals not believed to be associated” with SAU in the parking lot of the Donald W. Reynolds campus community center.

After a discussion, several shots were fired. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. Another student was taken to Magnolia Regional Medical Center and is stable.

SAU President Dr. Trey Berry released the following statement as part of a press release:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Josh’s family as we mourn the loss of his life, and we pray for our other students involved in this devastating event. The safety of our campus family is always our primary concern. Counseling services are available through the SAU Counseling Center for SAU students, faculty, and staff by contacting 870-235-4911. We appreciate the work of law enforcement officials who were able to quickly determine that this isolated act poses no broader threat to our campus community. Anyone who believes they have additional information about this incident is urged to contact University Police at 870-235-4100.”

This is an ongoing investigation. We will bring you more details as they become available.

(Article updated with statement from SAU President Dr. Trey Berry.)

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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