One of the young college students who was shot during a back-to-school event near the campus of Clark Atlanta University this week was speaking out about her condition, both mentaly and physically, days after the attack that left four people injured.
Kia Thomas told WSB-TV that she felt “fortunate and blessed” to have survived with non-life threatening injuries. The 19-year-old junior at Clark Atlanta was attending a block party near her school’s campus when shots rang out Tuesday night, hitting and grazing herself along with 18-year-olds Erin Ennis, also a Clark student, and Maia Williams-McLaren and Elyse Spencer, of Spelman College. Spencer was shot in the chest, prompting a GoFundMe to begin to help pay for her medical care.
Thomas, whose words came Friday morning during a press conference in Atlanta, also called the shooting a “hateful act” that she said she hoped would not negatively affect the rest of her time enrolled at the historically Black college. The other victims recounted their experiences on their personal social media accounts.
The shooting left other students who were not shot on edge with concerns about campus security being paramount in an area that connects Morehouse College with Spelman and Clark, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We have heard you and we will move forward to address your concerns and improve the safety and well-being of all CAU students,” Clark Interim President Lucille H. Maugé told students on Thursday.
Maugé’s comments came after students condemned the shooting.
“It could have been any of us,” Zaire Hammond, a senior at Clark, told the Associated Press. “Stuff like this shouldn’t happen on a school campus.”
Another Cark student told the AP that she was worried about how open the campus was to the public.
“Anybody and everybody can walk through here,” Jada Phillips said.
The shooting happened around 10:30 p.m. at a block party at the intersection of James P. Brawley Drive southwest and Beckwith Street southwest. The location is reportedly the steps of a library, which is used by students at Clark as well as Spelman College and Morehouse College, which are all part of the larger Atlanta University Center (AUC), which calls itself “the world’s oldest and largest association of historically Black colleges and universities.”
Video has been posted to social media claiming to show the aftermath of the shooting, for which law enforcement did not immediately announce an official motive as of Wednesday morning.
“Initial investigation seems to indicate an argument broke out between two parties prior to the shooting,” Atlanta police public affairs director Carlos Campos said Wednesday morning in a statement. “It appears the women were not the intended targets of the shooting.”
A suspect has been identified, according to investigators.
However, as of Friday afternoon, law enforcement did not have anybody in custody for the shooting.
According to a 2017 report by the Undefeated, “there are five license plate readers and 35 surveillance cameras installed as a result of a partnership among Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse School of Medicine,” collectively known as the AUC.