University of Memphis student fatally shot; classes canceled
MEMPHIS (AP) — A University of Memphis football player was fatally shot on campus in what police believe was a targeted attack and classes were canceled today as a precaution, officials said.
Taylor Bradford, 21, was shot near a university housing complex about 9:45 p.m. Sunday and then got into a car, driving a short distance before it crashed into a tree, officials said.
“We found him with a bullet wound to the body and the ambulance took him to the hospital where he was pronounced (dead),” said Roger Prewitt, a Memphis Police inspector.
Bradford, a 5-foot-11, 300-pound defensive lineman from Nashville, was a junior who transferred to Memphis after two seasons at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.
University officials closed residence halls on campus for about a half-hour after the shooting before police learned that the shooting was likely personal, spokesman Curt Gunther said.
In an e-mail alert sent to faculty, staff and students at 3:40 a.m. today, officials wrote that “the initial investigation indicates this was an act directed specifically toward the victim and was not a random act of violence.”
The university decided to cancel classes today, although police believe the person or persons involved in the shooting left the campus immediately.
“We feel like the campus is safe, but we’d rather err on the side of safety than not,” Gunther said.
The school’s administrative and athletic officials were meeting this morning to discuss the incident and Bradford’s family had been notified.
The Tigers host the Marshall University’s Thundering Herd in a game Tuesday night. Athletic officials were not immediately available for comment on Bradford’s death.
Bradford transfered to the school in 2006 and is on the roster this season but has not made any plays to be listed in the team’s statistics. At Samford he played in four games and had three tackles in 2005. In 2004, he had 13 tackles in eight games.
Bradford lettered in three sports at Antioch High School and holds school records in shotput and discus.
The University of Memphis had 20,562 students enrolled for last fall, according to its Web site.
The school was founded in 1912 as West Tennessee State Normal School and was renamed Memphis State College in 1941. It became Memphis State University in 1957, two years before it admitted its first black students. It was renamed the University of Memphis in 1994.
On the Net: http://www.memphis.edu
Published in The Messenger 10.01.07