USF campus shooting by football player raises concerns about guns on campus

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The University of South Florida USF freshman football player Benjamin Knox made the front page of the Oracle campus newspaper Monday for all the wrong reasons. Knox has been in jail since Sunday following his arrest for shooting two .45-caliber bullets in the Holly-D dormitory where he lives.

“It was so scary,” said Agnes Xu, who lives on campus.

USF police say Knox is not cooperating and hasn’t explained why he fired two rounds from an area near his car in the parking lot across the street. One bullet struck a wall near the first floor and another one hit on the third floor level of the dorm. Both bullets left large holes in the building exterior.

USF Police say they did not send out an alert on social media or smart phones when the shooting occurred around 4 a.m. Sunday because it took officers a while to piece together what happened after hearing reports of gunfire.

“We need to verify information before we put it out to maintain the credibility of the system,” said Asst. Chief Chris Daniel. He also said investigators didn’t want to start a panic since there was no indication that Knox was targeting anyone.

Whatever the reason behind Sunday’s shooting some students around campus insist it makes a good case for eliminating guns from USF altogether. Currently it is legal in Florida to have guns secured in a car, but not anywhere else on a public campus.

“I feel more incidents like this will occur if people are allowed to have guns,” said USF student Vanja Klaric.

“I think it would be safer if all the students know their boundaries if there’s a rule of no weapons on campus,” said Nicole Dzenga. “I don’t think having guns here would be a better thing to do.”

“I don’t think your frontal lobe is fully developed to really understand the responsibility of carrying a firearm on you,” said Melissa Stamm. “I think that would put a lot of students in danger.”

At last report Knox remained in the Hillsborough County jail under a $32,500 bond on charges of shooting a gun on school grounds and shooting into an occupied dwelling. The university has suspended Knox from the USF Bulls football team pending further investigation of the incident.

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