What Was The Motive Behind Paine College Shootings?
By Mike Miller, WJBF Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter - email
Photo of law enforcement near Paine College's campus after a Monday afternoon campus shooting
Augusta, GA -
Richmond County investigators are still trying to figure out what led to this week's shootings. They have connected the suspect and the victim through a witness.
Investigators think the shootings could be the result of a drug deal gone bad. That theory comes from the witness's statement. The witness, whose name hasn't been released at this time, told investigators that he bought drugs from the victim, JaJuan Baker. Apparently, it was a bad transaction.
"We know that the suspect and the witness are associates. They have a connection with each other," Sheriff Richard Roundtree said.
Roundtree says other than that, there is no known connection between the suspect, Xavier Cooper, and Baker. Sources tell News Channel 6 that counterfeit money may have been used during a drug deal that happened last week. Roundtree addressed that theory Wednesday morning.
"We have information on that, but we can't confirm that it was used in this particular case. But there was an incident with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office where some students from Paine were charged with being in possession of counterfeit money. We have heard the same thing, that the drug transaction was based on that, but we can't confirm that," Roundtree said.
The sheriff says the witness told investigators that there was bad blood between him and Baker. As of right now, authorities say there is no active threat on campus, but increased security will continue.
"Several individuals involved in the incidents were interviewed. They have no business on the Paine College campus. They have been notified by police or the sheriff's office that they are banned from the property," Roundtree said.
News Channel 6 has found out that at least 7 Paine College students have been kicked out of the school because of their connections to the shootings. Paine College officials wouldn't confirm that, but they did say some students are being transitioned back to their homes.
"It is the college's position not to discuss student's statuses, as far as academic, or whether they are here," Paine College Senior Vice-President of Institutional Advancement Brandon Brown said.
Meanwhile, the sheriff says if the individuals who were banned from the school are found on campus, they will be arrested.