Carolina Alert: Shooting on Campus

Posted on: 2/5/2015; Updated on: 2/10/2015
By UofSC

Updated: February 6, 2015 at 7:30 PM

A Letter to the Carolina Family from University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides

Dear Carolina Family,

The healing has begun at the University of South Carolina, even as our community continues to grieve. We lost an extremely valued member of our university family in Professor Fayad of the Arnold School of Public Health. He was an excellent teacher and highly respected by his university colleagues. 

I would like to thank the university’s extended family from around the country who have been in touch with us to express their sympathy. This includes parents of our students, our alumni and many others. I would also like to thank Governor Haley and Mayor Benjamin for their expression of support and solidarity with us; as well as the many university presidents from around the state and nation who’ve reached out to us.  A special thank you to the Clemson family for wearing garnet and black today as an expression of support. Thank you very much for that.

We now know the tragedy resulted from a domestic dispute. Domestic violence is, of course, a plague on our society and has shaken our university family yet again this year. We join in a call to increase awareness and action. Be assured that the University of South Carolina will continue to work for justice to mitigate this plague.

I’d like to thank the University of South Carolina police department and the many law enforcement agencies for their prompt and professional responses. While our university family felt shock, we also felt safe as a result of their outstanding efforts. They also helped us communicate promptly via text, email and other social media forms. I believe that our community was, and felt, very well informed. We will learn from our experiences, work to be better, while praying that we never have to implement these protocols again.  

I’d like to thank our students, our faculty and our staff who cooperated with us from the very beginning. While the grieving and the search for understanding will continue for a long time, our counseling center will be available to all in need. It’s also important to remember that there is an ongoing investigation that is in the control of South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Richland County Coroner’s office. They have pledged to continue to keep us informed.

Our thoughts and prayers will continue for the families of the deceased. I offer my personal condolences and prayer for their comfort.


Harris Pastides

President, University of South Carolina 


Updated: February 5, 2015 at 6:05 PM

Statement from University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides

Today, the USC family experienced a great tragedy. Sadly, a shooting in one of our buildings has left two dead in what appears to be a murder-suicide. The thoughts and prayers of our entire community are with the families of the deceased tonight.

The University of South Carolina Police Department responded to the shots immediately and, within moments, our community was alerted. I want to thank USCPD for their professionalism and quick response. The building was quickly secured and we were able to give an all clear for the campus.

Thank you also to our students, faculty and staff for their cooperation and fast action. We know the grieving period will be long and our counseling center is available to anyone who may need assistance.

Thank you to our community and law enforcement partners in the ongoing investigation. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is the lead investigative agency along with the Richland County coroner.

Indeed this is a tragic day in our history. Patricia and I, along with the Board of Trustees, offer our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.


Updated: February 5, 2015 at 5:45 PM

Class attendance and student assistance for February 5-6, 2015

Early this afternoon a shooting occurred on the USC-Columbia campus. A Carolina Alert notified students to stay indoors until the alert was lifted. After the alert was lifted, students were allowed to return to classes with the exception of those enrolled in Public Health courses or taking classes located in the Public Health Research Center (New Public Health Building) or Discovery Building. The decision was made in an effort to allow students to return to normal activity and to meet with faculty in a supportive environment.

Not all students returned to classes and they should not be penalized for their absence even if an exam was scheduled for today (Feb. 5). All faculty are urged to accommodate these students.

Out of respect for all students, faculty and staff affected by this tragic incident, all Public Health classes and other classes located in the Public Health Research Center (New Public Health Building) and Discovery Building are canceled for Friday (Feb. 6). All other classes will be conducted as scheduled.

Faculty and staff are asked to be especially attentive to students who may be in distress following this incident. A page is available with more information on identifying and assisting students in distress.

Counseling support is available to all students, faculty and staff:

  • The Counseling Center will hold an open community support meeting tonight (Feb. 5) at 7 p.m. in the Rutledge Chapel for all students, faculty and staff. This meeting is to provide grief and trauma support in a group format in response to today’s shooting. A page listing resources for students is available.  

  • The Counseling Center will hold extended hours tonight (Feb. 5) until 9 p.m. and Friday (Feb. 6)  8 a.m.-7 p.m., 7th floor of the Byrnes Building for all students, faculty and staff who wish to speak with a licensed mental health provider on an individual basis.

If additional counseling or support services are needed, please contact the Counseling Center at 803-777-5223.

Michael Amiridis, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Dennis Pruitt, Vice President of Student Affairs and Vice Provost of Academic Support

Helen Doerpinghaus, Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Updated: February 5, 2015 at 2:30 PM

USCPD responded to a shooting at the Public Health Research Center on the University of South Carolina-Columbia campus earlier this afternoon. The building has been secured and an all clear has been issued for the campus.

All public health classes and any classes in the Public Health Research Center (New School of Public Health) and Discovery Building have been cancelled for the remainder of the day. All other classes will meet as scheduled. 

The investigation continues with SLED as the lead investigative agency.

Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

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