ODU responds after four students shot at off-campus parties

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Old Dominion University says crime in Norfolk continues to be a challenge. This, as four students recover after being shot at two off-campus parties during Homecoming weekend.

The shootings are being investigated by Norfolk police. A fifth person, a 26-year-old sailor, was killed. So far, police have not made arrests.

WAVY.com made several calls and sent multiple emails to ODU’s spokeswoman, Giovanna Genard, both Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday night Genard emailed WAVY.com this statement:

“The Old Dominion Police Department (ODUPD) doubled patrol staffing in anticipation of large crowds, on- and off-campus, during the evening and early morning hours of Homecoming weekend. 

ODUPD will continue patrolling these areas proactively in support of the off-campus community and the Norfolk Police Department, whose agency has primary or full police jurisdiction of Norfolk neighborhoods surrounding campus.

The proactive safety enhancements and educational programs ODUPD implemented recently have resulted in a drop in crime incidents on campus, falling below the national average for large universities. But crime in Norfolk continues to be a challenge. We are committed to supporting Norfolk Police’s efforts in surrounding neighborhoods and encourage the community to report any suspicious activity to police. The safety of our students is a top priority, and by working together, we can help prevent further violence.

The President of the University,  John B. Broderick, released this statement Monday afternoon:

All of us are saddened to learn that 26-year-old Keith Lendore of Hampton died in a Norfolk shooting last weekend. While Keith was not an Old Dominion student, he was somebody’s son, somebody’s best friend and he will never have the opportunity to accomplish great things.

The senseless firing of weapons that took Keith’s life also injured four of our students at two separate events over the weekend. We wish them all a speedy recovery.

I talked with the Mayor and City Manager several times over the last few days about how we can better coordinate our efforts to improve safety, not only for our students, but all citizens in the surrounding area. We believe this would strengthen the joint effort of Norfolk Police and ODU Police to prevent dangerous incidents before they happen.

The University administration has aggressively implemented safety enhancements and educational programs that have reduced criminal activity on campus. These efforts are making a difference, but we understand there is more to do. I have been and remain committed to making our community safe. ODU Police will continue patrolling areas adjacent to the campus to proactively support the Norfolk Police Department, which has primary or full police jurisdiction of Norfolk neighborhoods surrounding campus. 

This week and next, our Student Government will host open forums with administrators where students can discuss issues of concern and the ODUPD will offer safety education programming. We will continue working with our partners in the City and our Norfolk neighbors to advocate for our students’ safety.

Together, we need to do everything we can to help prevent further violence.

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