Twenty-seven year old Tyler French was killed and seven others were injured when a gunman opened fire at an off-campus block party near Fort Valley State University in Georgia early Saturday morning, police announced.
Authorities said that French, the fatally wounded victim, was not a student at FVSU. While the seven other victims have not been named, school officials said that some of them were students.
“There were student injuries, but at this time, none have been reported as life-threatening,” said the university in a statement. “One person is deceased and has been confirmed not to be an FVSU student.”
All seven of the wounded victims were in stable condition by late Saturday morning, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter.
Police Still Investigating What Happened
No suspect in the Fort Valley shooting has yet been identified and no motive is clear, but authorities said an investigation is underway.
“The main thing right now is that we need the public — anybody that has information about what happened — to come forward,” GBI officials said.
“Investigators need your assistance identifying the person(s) responsible for the shooting,” the Bureau announced, adding that anyone with information on the deadly incident can make an anonymous tip over the phone or online.
Homecoming Events Canceled
Following the incident, school officials put the campus on lockdown until “police determined there was no threat to the campus community.”
Fort Valley students were preparing to celebrate the school’s homecoming weekend before the Saturday shooting. Officials canceled the parade planned for that morning, and announced that the Saturday night football game would continue as scheduled but with “increased security protocols in place.”
The game went on without incident, and the FVSU Wildcats trounced the Clark Atlanta Panthers, winning 40-7.
Some students told local reporters they attended the game to get their minds off the deadly shooting the previous night.
Fort Valley State officials also announced that counseling would be available for students affected by the shooting.
Community Mourns Tyler French
Friends and loved ones of Tyler French, the 27-year-old victim who was killed in the Fort Valley shooting, took to Facebook Saturday to express their grief.
“I hate it had to be you,” wrote one mourner.
“To wake up and hear about the shooting in fort valley just crushed me,” wrote another. “Then to hear it was one from your city that got killed … really really hurt … praying for Tyler’s family and the Marshallville family.”
According to his Facebook page, French was a native of Marshallville, Georgia and had recently lived in Byron, Georgia — both cities a short drive from Fort Valley in the greater Warner Robins metropolitan area. French was the father of a young boy and an alumnus of Peach County High School.
Similar Homecoming Shooting
The deadly incident comes just weeks after a similar shooting at Grambling State University in Louisiana.
Grambling State was also celebrating its homecoming weekend when a gunman opened fire at a group of students and other partygoers, wounding seven and killing one.
As in the Fort Valley State University shooting, police had not identified a suspect or a motive in the immediate aftermath.
Police later arrested 19-year-old Princeston Andre Adams in connecting with the shooting, charging him with two counts of second-degree murder.