Two men charged in Duquesne University basketball shootings

By The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH – Police charged two men on Tuesday with shooting five Duquesne University basketball players after a school dance, and they accused a 19-year-old sophomore of helping six men into the dance despite knowing some were armed.

Brandon Baynes, 18, faced arraignment on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, carrying an unlicensed firearm and criminal conspiracy. Police were still hunting Tuesday for William Holmes, also 18 and wanted on the same charges.

Three players remained hospitalized following Sunday’s shootings after the dance. The most seriously wounded, junior forward Sam Ashaolu, 23, was in critical condition with bullet fragments in his head.

Brittany Jones, accused of helping get some young men with guns into the party, was arrested Monday on charges of reckless endangerment, carrying a firearm without a license and criminal conspiracy. She was arraigned and posted bond Tuesday morning.

According to the criminal complaint, Jones – who is active with the Black Student Union, which sponsored the dance – got a call from a man asking whether he and his brother could attend. They arrived with four others about midnight.

While walking to the party, Jones told police, she became aware that several of the men had guns, authorities said.

They asked Jones if they were going to be “patted down” before entering, officials said. The doorman reportedly told Jones partygoers weren’t being searched, and the men went into the dance, police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Baynes and Holmes were part of the group. Police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki did not take questions at a news conference announcing the charges against the men.

In interviews Monday with The Associated Press, several players said the shooter was a non-student unhappy that the woman he accompanied to the dance had talked with a player. The shooter and at least one other man followed the players when they left the dance to walk to their dormitory, they said.

Jones’ attorney, James Ecker, would not confirm Tuesday whether she was cooperating with authorities and would not comment on reports that authorities may drop charges if she provides information to the police.

“I can say she’s spent a lot of time with police in the last couple of days, Sunday and Monday,” Ecker said.

“Until this case goes to a hearing or trial, she’s presumed innocent,” he said.

University president Charles Dougherty said he was grateful to police for the “swift arrest of the individual who may have been the shooter in the vicious attacks on Duquesne University students last Sunday morning.”

Besides Ashaolu, the other injured players were junior guard Kojo Mensah, 21; 6-foot-7 forward Stuard Baldonado, 21; junior center Shawn James, 23; and Aaron Jackson, 20, a guard who is one of only two returning players from Duquesne’s 3-24 team last season.

Ashaolu remained in critical condition Tuesday with a bullet, shattered into three pieces, in his head.

Baldonado was in fair condition Tuesday with arm and back injuries; he likely won’t play this season.

because his back injury will require two to three months of rehabilitation. He was expected to be released from the hospital by the end of the week.

Mensah, shot in an arm and shoulder, was kept at a hospital to receive additional injections of antibiotics but was expected to be discharged later Tuesday.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Jackson said he and teammate Stephen Wood dropped to the ground when shots rang out. Mensah, Baldonado and Ashaolu were the first players hit in the attack. James was wounded on the foot but escaped by running across the football field.