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UK to investigate shooting at home of fraternity member

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The University of Kentucky will conduct its own investigation into a shooting that happened at an off-campus party Wednesday.

(Getty Images)

The shooting that occurred on Wednesday night and injured 11 University of Kentucky students took place at a house party connected to the Theta Chi fraternity, university officials said Thursday.

The university will conduct its own investigation into the altercation, looking into potential violations of the student code of conduct, and provide students with mental health support, UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

One shot was fired in the basement of a house party at 205 University Avenue shortly before midnight on Wednesday. One female student was shot in the leg and 10 other students sustained injuries from shrapnel after the shot was fired. Those students were sent to UK Chandler Hospital, and none of the injuries were life-threatening, Blanton said.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said the house is being leased to a member of the fraternity. Two uninvited individuals, who are not believed to be connected to Theta Chi, entered the party and fired a pistol, Monroe said.

Three arrests were made, according to Lexington police, and two firearms were recovered. Lexington police said only one of the arrests was directly connected to the shooting.

“The investigation is still ongoing but we don’t believe that they were targeting any individual,” Monroe said. “They believe that the individuals showed up because there was a party going on.”

UK students will receive information about mental health support, counseling services and wellbeing supports on Thursday. There are currently no plans to change the fraternity rush schedule, and classes are still being held, Blanton said.

“We feel very fortunate that none of our students sustained life-threatening injuries and all appear to be on their way to recovery,” Blanton said. “But we also know students can be impacted in other ways beyond physical wounds and injuries.”

The incident is still under investigation by both university police and the Lexington Police Department.

Monroe said the house was very crowded when officers arrived Wednesday night, both inside and outside the house. In addition to the police response, UK’s dean of students went to the scene to be with students Wednesday night.

Other incidents involving UK students

UK Greek life was criticized last year after a freshman died during a fraternity tradition in October. Lofton Hazelwood, who was 18, died after excessive alcohol consumption during the FarmHouse Fraternity tradition of “serenades.”

Hazelwood drank approximately 18 one-ounce shots of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon within 45 minutes on Oct. 18, according to UK’s report. This took place before the fraternity’s tradition of “serenades,” where members would visit sorority houses and sing to members. Hazelwood was left in the fraternity house when members went to participate in the serenades.

UK’s investigation did not find evidence of hazing directly related to Hazelwood’s death, but did find evidence of hazing within the fraternity. In response to the investigation, both UK and the national chapter revoked the FarmHouse fraternity’s status, meaning it can not operate a chapter at UK for several years. Members of the fraternity were required to move out of the house.

Monroe said the most recent shooting that involved UK students occurred in November 2020. That shooting, which took place near downtown Lexington, resulted in the death of 20-year-old student Madilyn Grisham. The shooting occurred in the early morning on Payne Street, and injured two other people.

Monica Kast covers higher education for the Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com. Previously, she covered higher education in Tennessee for the Knoxville News Sentinel. She is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Western Kentucky University.
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