Joshua Brandon Norris, 22, is about to graduate from Morehouse College, but there's one person who isn't at all happy for him. Frank Rashad Johnson was also a Morehouse man until a school-sponsored party on Halloween night in 2007 left him with a nearly fatal gunshot wound.
Police reports say Norris and Johnson had words at the party which spilled over into a physical altercation outside and ended with Norris shooting Johnson three times, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Norris pleaded no contest to the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and got six years of probation. Since this was his first offense, if Norris stays out of trouble, his record will be wiped clean. Part of his probabtion is to complete his studies at Morehouse, which he has done. Unfortunately for Johnson, it's a strange twist to their story because he had to change schools in order to be closer to home where he is still recuperating. The man who nearly killed him however is about to receive a degree from one of the most prestigious, historically Black universities in the country.
In a letter to alumni, Morehouse President Robert M. Franklin (class of 1975) issued the following statement:
"We are grateful for the concern expressed by Morehouse Men about a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution news story regarding a shooting involving a current and a former Morehouse student. The events described are, to say the least, unsettling and run completely counter to our values and our mission of preparing Morehouse Men to become socially conscious leaders. Furthermore, these events tarnish the Morehouse name and all that it represents. Let me be clear: We do not intend to lower the College's standards to accommodate anyone whose behavior is unbecoming of a Man of Morehouse.
I want the alumni community to rest assured that the safety of our students is of paramount importance and we take seriously the issue of violence in our community at large and particularly in our College community. As I said at my April 21st town hall meeting, 'Morehouse will be a campus of peace and justice. We will be a violence-free zone.' No institution that nurtured, developed, inspired and graduated a Martin Luther King Jr. can aspire to any less.
Finally, while we are limited by privacy law from disclosing more specific information about this or any other student conduct matter, please know that incidents of inappropriate student behavior that are brought to the attention of the College, whether on or off campus, are reviewed and processed under the Student Conduct Code and judiciary system, both of which are being reviewed and strengthened to ensure a climate of safety and civility in the College community."