Liberty University security officer fatally shoots student

Nov. 19, 2013 at 6:08 PM
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LYNCHBURG, Va., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A Liberty University (Va.) student attacked a school security officer with a hammer Tuesday before the guard fatally shot him, a search warrant indicated.

Lynchburg police identified the student as Joshua Hathaway, 19, of Lubbock, Texas, The (Lynchburg) News & Advance reported.

The 4:15 a.m. EST shooting occurred at an off-campus women's dormitory, city police Lt. Dave Gearhart said.

"Joshua Hathaway, a Liberty University student, told the security officer he had been robbed and someone stole his vehicle," a search warrant written by city police Detective Collin Byrne and filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court stated. "The security officer then began to investigate Hathaway's complaint but Hathaway then pulled out a hammer from his clothing and assaulted the officer."

The unidentified security officer fired two shots, striking Hathaway at least once, the newspaper said. The officer was taken to a hospital for treatment and later released, Gearhart said.

Investigators said Hathaway's car was in a nearby parking lot and they were unsure why he reported it missing.

Byrne said in the affidavit Hathaway's roommate said Hathaway "had been displaying unusual behavior recently."

"The Liberty University community is deeply saddened by this tragic event and is prayerfully supporting all those impacted," Jerry Falwell Jr., chancellor of the private Christian university said in a statement.

The school said in a release that the campus, which has about 12,600 residential students, was "open and operating as normal" following the shooting with classes held as scheduled.

"There is no safety concern," LU spokesman Johnnie Moore said.

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