Local News

Agriculture, University Officials Discuss Security In Wake Of Fatal Tailgate Shootings

Posted September 9, 2004

— A deadly shooting at a North Carolina State University football tailgating party is prompting the university, law enforcement and state officials to take a closer look at safety.

Chaos, crowds and confusion fueled by alcohol is how witnesses described the scene at the football tailgating party where two men were killed on Saturday.

The incident took place on a property on Trinity Road, which is part of the State Fairgrounds and under the control of the Agriculture Department. N.C. State has an agreement to use the area for game parking.

"We cannot assume the responsibility for individuals, but we can make certain that we have a facility that's there, that's clean, that's safe and people can come and enjoy it," state Agriculture Commissioner Britt Cobb said.

"Football games and basketball games -- a lot of people congregate in a relatively small area," North Carolina State Chancellor Robert Barnhardt said. "Safety is a primary importance. As an interim chancellor, I'm going to take any actions necessary in the long-term interest of the university."

State and local leaders met Wednesday about how to handle tailgating parties.

"It's been a tragedy," Barnhardt said. " We're recognizing alcohol sometimes plays a part in that, and we're trying to address those problems."

Limiting alcohol, limiting access, and adding security are all ideas on the table -- ideas that may not be so popular.

"State campus police, Raleigh police, Highway Patrol -- I think we'll all put our heads together and see what can be done to see this never happens again," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Other universities have imposed similar regulations in the past, but both Cobb and Barnhardt said they will do whatever it takes to ensure safety.

"We want people to enjoy these activities, they are entertainment events, but we have a responsibility to make sure it is safe," state Agriculture Britt Cobb said.

In a speech before the N.C. Satte's student senate, Barnhardt outlined proposed changes.

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