News 12 11pm / Monday, May 5, 2014
Augusta, Ga. (WRDW) -- Prior to Monday's shooting on the Paine College campus, school leaders had been working to beef up security. Just this past July, Paine announced a switch from campus security to a police force.
At the time, students told News 12 the move made them feel safer. Now, not even a year later, some of those same students have changed their minds.
"I'm leaving next week. I can't be here. I was thinking about coming back next year, but I'm leaving," admitted Cameron Brisco as deputies swarmed his school.
Brisco used to feel like he was safe on campus.
We know that because he told News 12 that nine months ago. We first met him when Paine College was implementing its new police force. He had only been on campus for a few weeks, but he told us he had heard about past problems with crime. He liked the idea of officers who were real officers, not just security guards. "It's always good to have security because when you have security, you have stability." he told News 12 in July 2013. "When you stay stable, you don't have so much trouble going on around." There had been quite a bit of trouble, however, at Paine when we first talked to Cameron in July. In March, deputies had just arrested a rape suspect; investigators say Jarius Dantzler broke into a Paine College dorm and raped a student.
At the time, school leaders assured students everyone was safe. "The college has always had campus safety 24 hours a day, " said Brandon Brown in a July 2013 interview with News 12 about the new police force. Paine's Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement also told News 12, "we have always an officer doing rounds, checking buildings, checking to make sure everything is okay."
But the victim in that dorm rape says she wasn't okay.
Investigators believe Dantzler had sexually assaulted another woman, but the victim says the school never warned students about it. In a lawsuit, she blames Paine College for everything.
In all, Dantzler was charged with rape, attempted rape, armed robbery and burglary in three separate incidents over the course of four months.
In August of 1998, a 22-year-old student got caught in some crossfire. He was treated and released for a gunshot wound to his thigh.
Fast-forward back to today, and Cameron tells us violence has become the norm rather than the exception. "Come this semester, there were a lot of fights, a lot of brawls, a lot of stuff going down...a lot of stuff that just shouldn't happen at a college."
He says today's shooting shouldn't have happened either, and even though he has a lot of questions about how it was able to happen, he's ready to leave his dorm at Paine College before he gets answers. "I don't want to be here to find out, have my friend dead next to me while I'm laying in my bed."