Two injured in shooting rejoin team; Ashaolu critical

Updated: September 20, 2006, 1:14 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Duquesne's attempt to get back to some sense of normalcy will continue Wednesday when first-year coach Ron Everhart conducts individual workouts in the afternoon for the first time since five of his players were shot early Sunday morning after a campus dance party.

Everhart said late Tuesday night that he decided to go back to the individual instruction, suspended Monday, after holding a team meeting Tuesday evening.

During the meeting, Siena transfer Kojo Mensah, fresh off of being released from Pittsburgh's Presbyterian Hospital for bullet wounds to his arm and shoulder, and Northeastern transfer Shawn James, who was shot in the left foot, were in attendance and they "lifted the spirits of everyone," according to Everhart.

"It was a real good feeling in there," Everhart said.

James is expected to have the bullet removed from his foot Wednesday.

The most critical of the wounded, Sam Ashaolu, remains in critical condition at Mercy Hospital with two bullets in his head, one fragmented, the other intact. Ashaolu showed some responsiveness by opening his eyes, and with movement in his extremities Tuesday, but the next few days will be critical to his survival, according to a source.

Meanwhile, teammate Stuard Baldonado had a bullet removed from his back, visible apparently to the naked eye as it pushed the skin out. He probably won't be released until either later this week or next.

Baldonado, who was listed in fair condition Tuesday, likely won't play this season because his back injury will need two to three months of rehabilitation.

Junior center Shawn James and Aaron Jackson, a guard who is one of only two returning players from Duquesne's 3-24 team last season, were also wounded in the shooting, but were treated and released.

James was wounded in his foot but escaped by running across the nearby football field. Jackson was grazed by a bullet on his left wrist.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Jackson said he and teammate Stephen Wood dropped to the ground when shots rang out. Mensah, Baldonado and Ashaolu were the first players hit in the attack.

Duquesne held a candlelight vigil Tuesday night on campus.

"The people on this campus really care," Everhart said.

Also Tuesday, police charged two men in connection with the shooting.

Brandon Baynes, 19, was arraigned on five counts of criminal attempt at homicide. Prosecutors also filed charges of aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and weapons counts against him and William Holmes, 18. A reckless endangerment charge was also filed against Holmes, who is still being sought.

More family members of the injured are due in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Under an NCAA emergency fund, Duquesne is allowed to cover the expenses of family members.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com