President Hatch: Update about on-campus shooting investigation

President Hatch emailed this message to students, faculty and staff on Jan. 23:

Dear Wake Forest University Students, Faculty and Staff,

Earlier today, you received an update from the Winston-Salem Police Department about three men detectives seek to interview as part of their ongoing investigation. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the men depicted in the photographs is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police Department (336-773-7700) or CrimeStoppers at (336-727-2800).

In addition to calling attention to the update provided by the Winston-Salem Police Department, I also want to address a few concerns and rumors we have heard on and off campus.

  1. There is concern being expressed about the delay between the shooting and the initial campus notification. The time that elapsed between the shooting and the initial notification to the campus community was too long. We are undertaking a thorough review to determine what contributed to the delay. Nothing is more important than the safety of our campus community and those visiting our campus, and we are committed to improving the timeliness of our warnings.
  2. There is a rumor that there was not security at an event where approximately 475 people were present. At this point in the investigation, we can confirm that there was security at the event in accordance with our standard practices for late-night parties at the Barn. A uniformed University Police officer and hired security staff were present.
  3. Some are asking why people were in attendance who were not Wake Forest students. It is not uncommon for students from other area schools to attend events here on campus. Our open campus contributes to a sense of shared community and vibrant social life, particularly for our underrepresented students. We are reviewing our event management processes to increase clarity of who is on our campus, and to help provide a safe experience for our students and visitors.
  4. I’ve been asked about the status of the investigation and why the shooter has not yet been apprehended. As the Winston-Salem Police Department stated this afternoon, the investigation remains active and ongoing. We continue to support their investigation and have colleagues across the University who are working tirelessly toward that end.

The past few days have left our campus community unsettled. I am grateful for the many ways in which Wake Foresters have united to support one another.

A vigil to honor Najee Baker will be held at the Winston-Salem State Clock Tower on Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. Wake Forest will operate a shuttle on a first come, first served basis that will depart the Benson University Center Circle at 4 p.m.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of Najee Baker. We will continue walking with our friends at Winston-Salem State as we work to help our communities heal.


Nathan O. Hatch