GCU student hit by stray bullet after shooting near campus, 2 others injured

A shooting down the street from Grand Canyon University is under investigation after a student was struck by a stray bullet Wednesday night.

According to a statement, officers responded to a dispute that reportedly ended in a shootout near 37th Avenue and Vermont at around 6:00 p.m. on Sept. 28. Officers at scene eventually learned that two victims went to a hospital with gunshot injuries.

"Both victims, an adult male and a teenage female suffered non-life-threatening injuries," read a portion of the police statement.

Two stray bullets reportedly went on campus, and one of them struck a GCU student who was walking down the street near The Rivers Residence Halls.

The student, who was not identified, has been hospitalized in non-life threatening condition. On Sept. 29, officials with GCU said the student had successful surgery, and "does not expect to experience any long-term residual effects from the injury."

The victim was identified by university officials as Jay Morales.

"His family reports that the support he has received from friends on campus has been ‘overwhelming,’ and they ‘are thankful that we have been able to send him to school at GCU,’" read a portion of GCU's statement.

It is unclear if anyone was arrested in connection to the shooting.

Students react to incident

On Sept. 29, student son campus react to what had happened the night before.

"It could have been anyone. It could be anyone. I mean, I'm pretty sure the person didn't expect that," said one student, identified only as ‘Rosie.'

"It's really crazy, and it's so sad that a student was involved and everything like that," said another student, identified only as ‘Peyton.’

GCU officials respond to questions over campus response to shooting

On Sept. 29, GCU officials released a lengthier statement on the incident, with a particular focus on questions over the "timeliness of information that was sent to students."

"I was still clueless until I received the email," said Rosie. "I was like ‘OK, this is real.’"

Officials say initially, there was confusion and conflict as to what happened on campus, due to the nature of the incident itself.

"GCU Public Safety was at the scene on campus immediately. The first priority was to tend to the injured student and ensure there was no imminent threat to the campus community. That was determined quickly; otherwise, a RAVE text alert would have been sent immediately," read a portion of the statement.

Officials say members of the GCU leadership team were on campus by 6:40 p.m., and "immediately were in contact with other GCU staff members and Phoenix Police to sort through what occurred."

"The first communication via RAVE alert was sent at 8:12 p.m., which was followed up by communications via social media, direct emails to students and communications to student leaders and parent groups," read a portion of the statement. "We also wanted to contact the parents of the injured student first so that they were not getting this news about their son via a text alert or email, and to prevent a premature communication that would cause parents of the other 25,000 students on campus from worrying that it was their son or daughter who was involved."

"I understand GCU wanted to have the full information before giving it to the students, but it is slightly frustrating that we didn't know until a couple hours later," said Peyton.

The university's president, Brian Mueller, was not available for interview on Sept. 29, but a spokesperson said Mueller will meet with 40 student leaders to discuss the situation.

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