WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- The warmth of the sun melted away much of the snow on campus at Winston-Salem State University on Saturday but did little to brighten the mood of some students.
Police say Najee Ali Baker, a student and football player at Winston-Salem State University, was shot during a party on the campus of Wake Forest University.
Daizha Green, one of Baker's closest friends, says she's still trying to wrap her mind around what happened.
"It hurts really bad. I didn't realize it yet but it does hurt," said Green. "We were very close. He was like an older brother. It's just crazy how fast he's gone just like that. I literally saw him yesterday."
Police say they responded to a call about a fight at a party at "The Barn," an event space on campus at WFU.
It started feet away from Peyton Foreman.
"A fight broke out right beside me. After that, they were like 'you know everybody just go home, just go home.' As were walking out of the building I got up there and I saw somebody laying out in the snow," Foreman explained. "I could see he had his shirt rolled up and everything. They were trying to put the brace around his neck. I saw girl just laying over the top of him screaming and crying."
Officials say Baker died from his injuries at a nearby hospital.
"It just kind of blew me because I didn't realize how frail life is, how anything can change just like that in a blink of an eye," said Green.
WSSU announced a vigil will be held for Baker at the Clock Tower on campus from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, January 24.
The Winston-Salem Police Department is leading the investigation with support from Wake Forest Police. Police have no reason to believe that the shooter remained on campus, and believe the shooting was an isolated incident.
Baker sat out the 2017 season after transferring from Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts. The school's athletic website said Baker was a 6-foot, 1-inch 240-pound linebacker from Brooklyn, New York.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Winston-Salem Police at 336-773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.
In a statement posted on the Winston-Salem State University website, university officials said:
Dear Campus Community,
Early this morning, we were alerted that Winston-Salem Police Department officers responded to an altercation at Wake Forest University. During the incident, a Winston-Salem State University student Najee Ali Baker was shot. We are deeply saddened to share that that he later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. Mr. Baker's family has been notified.
We understand that an incident such as this can stir up emotions among members of the campus community. Counseling services will be available for any individual who needs support from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Gleason Hairston Terrace Courtyard Lounge and noon-1 p.m. at the Bowman Gray Field House Hospitality Room.
The Winston-Salem Police Department is leading the investigation with support from Wake Forest University Police and Winston-Salem State University Police. We understand that students from both campuses were in attendance at the event. If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 or call Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.
Please join me in offering our condolences to Mr. Baker's family and friends.
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