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Jackson State cancels classes following shooting death of student on campus

Acting university president Elayne Anthony said security will be enhanced and urged students to carry IDs

A Jackson State student was killed in a shooting on campus Sunday night, according to acting university president Elayne H. Anthony.

In a statement posted to Jackson State’s social media accounts, Anthony said the shooting occurred at the University Pointe Apartment Complex. Jaylen Burns, an industrial technology major from Chicago, was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

The university canceled Monday classes in the wake of the shooting.

The historically Black college in Jackson, Mississippi, celebrated its homecoming festivities last week, and it was the second on-campus shooting during its homecoming weekend.

According to a post by the university on X, formerly known as Twitter, the first shooting occurred Oct. 14, but no students were involved or injured.

News of Burns’ death elicited an outpouring of mourning on social media from members of the Jackson State community and fellow HBCUs.

Anthony said security will be increased on campus and urged students to carry their student ID at all times.

Burns was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and other service organizations, she said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Jaylen’s family, friends and all those who knew him,” she said in the statement. “He was an ambitious and bright young man, who believed in being of service as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and president of the C100 Chapter at JSU, an affiliate of the 100 Black Men of America. We grieve the tragic loss of his life due to this senseless act of violence.”

The fraternity posted a statement of mourning to its Twitter account on Monday.

“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. mourns and condemns the tragic shooting death of Brother Jaylen Burns at Jackson State University last night. Please share and keep his family, friends, and chapter Brothers in your prayers,” the post said.

The shooting occurred nearly two weeks after a shooting Oct. 3 on the campus of HBCU Morgan State University in Baltimore left five people injured during homecoming festivities. In response Morgan State leaders announced plans on Oct. 10 to build a wall around most of the campus and station security personnel at entrances and exits.

Two people were shot on Oct. 7 during homecoming weekend at historically Black Bowie State University, located about 35 miles from Morgan State. There is no indication any of the shootings are connected.

Mia Berry is the senior HBCU writer for Andscape and covers everything from sports to student-led protests. She is a Detroit native (What up Doe!), long-suffering Detroit sports fan and Notre Dame alumna who randomly shouts, "Go Irish."