Student Dead After Shooting at SSU

Christopher "Cooley" Starks, Photo from Facebook

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At a press conference on campus, President of Savannah State University Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier said the shooting death of Christopher Starks last night on campus was senseless and “everyone is grieving.”

She said this is not what SSU is about and told students at a prayer vigil that there will be heightened security on campus.


According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, preliminary information shows Christopher Starks was reportedly involved in an altercation inside the Student Union where he was shot.

The shooting appears to be an isolated incident.

Starks was transported to Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be performed by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Savannah.

The investigation is ongoing and the shooter has not been identified at this time.

Anyone with any information about the incident is requested to call SSU Police at (912) 358-3004 or the GBI Statesboro Office at (912) 871-1121.


What started out as a normal night at the Savannah State Student Union ended in tragedy.

At about 9:30 Thursday evening, emergency crews were called to the scene on campus for reports of a student who was shot.

School officials say 22-year-old Christopher Starks was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injuries but was later pronounced dead.

Two freshman students who were in the union at the time tell News 3 there was a fight before the gun went off.

“I ran first but then I thought about it like, this could have been my brother,” said Jamya Baker. “So I turned around and make sure he was alright.”

Her friend, Ashia Gordon was also there.

“I got on the ground and I crawled from under the table, I was close to the door and I came back cause I left my friends, I wanted to make sure they was alright too,” said Gordon. “I came back and I went over there with him he was just laying on the floor everyone was just looking, they was so amazed, they didn’t know what to do.”

Gordon and Baker told WSAV crews on scene they helped other students keep pressure on Starks’ wound until EMS arrived.

Starks was a former football player at Applachian State but transferred to Savannah State.

Applachian State football coach Scott Satterfield released this statement:

We were shocked and devastated to hear the news this morning about Chris Starks’ passing.  In his short time at Appalachian State we came to know Chris as a good person, a hard worker and a great friend and teammate.  Our  thoughts and prayers are with Chris’ family and friends at this very difficult time.

Because the school is a state institution, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigating the incident with help from the SSU Police Department.

School authorities said in a statement:

The safety of those who live, study, work and visit Savannah State University remains a top priority – no exceptions. Savannah State University has zero tolerance for violence of any kind. If students are aware of the presence of weapons, please think and act responsibly to disclose such information to a member of the faculty, staff or administration, or other figure of authority. While it may be natural to want to protect an associate, the lack of disclosure may do more harm than good in the long run. Therefore, anyone with information about the incident should contact the SSU Police Department at 912-358-3004.

There is a vigil planned at the school for noon on Friday and SSU President Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier will be addressing the incident at a press conference at 11:45.

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