Student charged with murder in SC State shooting

Student charged with murder in SC State shooting

Credit: Orangeburg County

Justin Bernard Singleton, 19


by Associated Press & staff

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 25 at 12:04 PM

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) - A suspect was arrested early Saturday in the fatal shooting of a student outside a dormitory at South Carolina State University, law enforcement officials said.

Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, of Charleston, was charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Brandon Robinson, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in a news release.

Singleton was taken into custody in Orangeburg, where the campus is located, and was being held at the Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center.

Robinson died Friday afternoon after he was shot outside Hugine Suites. Singleton's arrest warrant says during an argument with Robinson he pulled out a gun and shot the victim.

Authorities initially said they were looking for four men who had left campus. Thom Berry, a public information officer for the law enforcement division, declined to say early Saturday whether there was still an active manhunt.

"Our investigation is continuing," Berry said in an email to The Associated Press.

The gunmen left campus before police could catch them, but authorities decided to lock down the campus so they could not return, said University Police Chief Mernard Clarkson said Friday. The lockdown was lifted Friday evening.

Clarkson said police haven't figured out what led to the shooting.

The shooting shocked the entire campus, university President Thomas Elzey said. Grief counselors were being brought in to talk to students and staff.

"We, again, are extraordinarily sad about this. He was a very nice young man. And it hurts. It hurts us all," Elzey said.

A statement issued by the university Saturday read, in part:

“The SC State University family is devastated by the tragic loss of Brandon. Our hearts are heavy with grief and sorrow by the senseless act of violence, which took too soon a beloved member of our university family,” said President Thomas J. Elzey.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Brandon’s family and friends during this most difficult time in their lives. On behalf of SC State University, I extend our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to them,” Elzey said.

We are at loss for words right now,” said Bulldog Head Coach Buddy Pough.  “The entire university and our athletic family are grieving right now and our hearts are heavy. Our deepest condolences go out to the Robinson family.

Brandon was a fine young man who was paying his way through college. All he wanted to do was play football for the university. It’s a tragic situation, one from which we all must learn,” continued Pough.”

“We are all saddened by the tragic loss of Brandon Robinson, one of our student-athletes,” said Athletics Director Charlene Johnson. “Our university and the athletics department have suffered a great loss, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Elzey said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley offered any help the school needed.

South Carolina State also was the site of a fatal shooting in 2011, when police said three men met on campus for a drug deal. A student, 22-year-old Jonathan Bailey, was killed.