USM president addresses faculty and staff about shootings

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - In an emailed message, President of The University of Southern Mississippi Martha Saunders addressed the campus Monday concerning the weekend shooting of three USM football players.

In the message she wrote:

"By now you probably know of the shooting incident which occurred Sunday morning involving three of our students.

About 1:30 a.m. yesterday, students Martez Smith, Deddrick Jones and Tim Green were shot at an off-campus club. According to police, all three students - who are interdisciplinary studies majors and members of the Golden Eagle football team - were unarmed. 

I visited with the injured players and their families at the hospital Sunday. At this very stressful time our thoughts and prayers are for these young men and their families. The injuries of Martez and Tim Green are significant. We are doing all we can to support these students and their families. Our concern is also for the other team members and USM students who, no doubt, are impacted by the weekend events.

The Hattiesburg Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting and is being assisted by our University Police Department, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and a task force from the U.S. Marshals Service. 

The Office of University Communications will keep the campus community advised as new information becomes available."

The students were shot outside of Remington's Hunt Club in Hattiesburg early Sunday morning. School officials say all three are in fair condition at a local hospital.

Sgt. Allen Murray with the Hattiesburg Police Department said an altercation took place inside the Hunt Club off Highway 49 around 1:20 a.m. which then moved outside of the night club where one person opened fire injuring the players. No arrests have been made.

While many details have not been given at this point, Murray says the investigation is ongoing and officials are looking for witnesses. The Hunt Club was crowded when police arrived at the scene, and they are hoping people will come forward with more information about the incident.

HPD is not ruling out gang activity in association with the shootings. The cause of the altercation is not known at this time.

Murray was joined by Southern Miss Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Paul in a press conference Sunday afternoon on campus. No members of the athletic department were made available as head football coach Larry Fedora, athletic director Richard Giannini and school president Martha Saunders were at the hospital to be with the student-athlete's families.

Coach Fedora, staff and team members have been spotted at the hospital since early Sunday morning. Fedora will be the only person in the weekly Monday football press conference at 11:45 a.m., which usually includes both coordinators and two players.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and US Marshals are assisting the Hattiesburg Police Department.

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