Edward Waters University president Dr. A. Zachary Faison Jr. spoke on the Jacksonville Mass Shooting in a video statement released on the institution's social media accounts. Faison spoke on the unnamed shooter's entrance onto the campus and their interaction with campus security as well as other details that he's been briefed on in the hours since the incident.
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“Earlier during the day we learned that the perpetrator of this heinous act did come to the Edward Waters campus via his vehicle and drove onto the campus,” Faison said in his video statement. “Fortunately, our pet security team, led by Lieutenant Bailey, and Chief Williams, directly confronted, this perpetrator almost immediately, pursuant to him coming on our campus. [They] confronted him and were able to ascertain that he was not, a student or member of our university community.”
Faison continued, “The perpetrator, then did put on an armored vest and get back in his vehicle, and at that time, our campus security pursued him further and directed him off of the Edward Waters campus, followed him in his vehicle down King's road and away from the Edward Waters campus. Unfortunately, little did we know that he had some, of course, very, very heinous and [villainous] aims. and sometime thereafter, then went into a local place of business, and murdered, three individuals. ”
Faison offered condolences to the individuals affected and repudiated the act of racism directed at the institution.
“It's not lost on us that this was, in fact, a racially motivated act. It's also not lost on us that this is the second time in the past 18 months that Florida's first historically black college and or university has been subject to potential racial violence,” he said also speaking of the bomb threat issued to multiple HBCUs in February 2022.
He spoke directly against the acts, saying that the institution would not be discouraged.
“I want to say very unabashedly, that we are not dismayed. We will not be intimidated [out of] the work that we do at Edward Waters and that we have been doing for a century and a half. [Our work] is a great work and it's a great work because it's God's work.”
He also said, “We are about the business of uplifting, and educating young, mostly black minds, to change the world. And we know that that's a very powerful force and that there are other forces that want to see that not happen. But thank God, that he has continued to keep not only Edward Waters University but all historically black colleges and universities around this great country.”