University spokesman: WCU student dies after weekend shooting - FOX Carolina 21

University spokesman: WCU student dies after weekend shooting

Posted: Updated:
Aja Chakuning Makalo (Source: MCSO) Aja Chakuning Makalo (Source: MCSO)
Zavion Southerland. (Gaston Co. Sheriff's Office) Zavion Southerland. (Gaston Co. Sheriff's Office)
Jacob Ray (photo provided) Jacob Ray (photo provided)
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (FOX Carolina) -

Western Carolina University said a student who was shot near the campus in Cullowhee on October 6 has died. 

Officials said the shooting occurred along Old Cullowhee Road adjacent to the campus just before midnight.

Officials say a student , Jacob Alexander Ray of Hendersonville, was shot and was transported directly to a local hospital. 

On Tuesday, WCU officials confirmed Ray had died. Officials said the WCU police department notified Ray's family of his passing Monday night.

Police do not believe there to be an ongoing threat to the campus community.

Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

Aja Chakuning Makalo,19, of Charlotte was originally charged with attempted murder in the Friday night shooting. She was arrested on Saturday and was being held on $500,000 bond. The district attorney said her charges had later been upgraded to murder. 

A second arrest was made on Sunday. WCU police said 17-year-old Zavion Southerland of Charlotte was arrested and originally charged with attempted murder in connection to the shooting. His charges were also upgraded to murder, the district attorney said. Officials say Southerland is not affiliated with WCU and is being held without bond at this time.

“The investigation has been developing throughout the day, but law enforcement agencies are still actively pursuing many investigative avenues,” said WCU Police Chief Ernie Hudson.

The school released the following statement Saturday night:

University officials said they could not comment on the specifics of the incident or the charges, pending the outcome of the criminal case and other possible on-campus judicial action involving WCU’s Student Code of Conduct.

“We continue to keep Jacob in our thoughts and prayers, as well as his family and the families of everyone involved,” said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher. “This incident has shocked and devastated people all across the WCU community and has reminded us that, even in a peaceful place like Cullowhee, tragic things can still occur. I am confident in the ability of our campus family to come together and support one another in times like these.”

Chancellor David O. Belcher issued the following statement after the shooting:

“We are deeply saddened by the news that one of our students was grievously injured in a shooting late last night near campus. Our university community is shocked and distressed, and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured student and his family and loved ones. The safety of our students is of paramount importance and violent acts such as this affect us all. The WCU police are doing everything they can to find those responsible. We will provide additional information to the campus community as soon as it becomes available.”

A good friend of the victim shared with FOX Carolina a GoFundMe page started in order to help his family pay for medical expenses. All donations will go directly to the victim's parents.

You can donate to that fundraiser HERE.

Search warrants state investigators are looking into whether drugs were involved in the crime. The search warrants were obtained for what appears to be both suspect's cell phones, two vehicles and a residence.

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