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Students on Alert, Police on the Lookout for NCSU Shooting Suspect

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RALEIGH — The school year is off to a rough start atN.C. State University. A student was shot outside the campus bookstore Thursday night, and the suspect got away.

Robert Baumgart, a 19-year-old sophomore, was shot in the left cheek while sitting in a vehicle parked near the Dunn Street bookstore about 10 p.m. Thursday. He was released from the hospital Friday.

Armed with a detailed description of the suspect, N.C. State Public Safety officers and State Bureau of Investigation agents are searching for the gunman.

The victim's father, Larry Baumgart, lives near Charlotte. He says when his son and his son's roommate went to the automatic teller machine at the bookstore, a man approached their car, asked for directions to a night club and shot Baumgart in the face.

"The next thing they know, there was a flash that went off. My son says he's been hit or shot, because he felt the blood and the tingling," the father says.

"You always think of the worst -- is he dead? Is he OK? What can you do when you're three-and-a-half hours away?" he says.

Police sent a mass e-mail to students, notifying them of the shooting. Officers also reminded students about basic campus safety tips: Be alert, savvy about surroundings and do not travel alone.

Shocked NCSU students say they are taking note and taking action.

"When we heard there was a shooting, it just kind of floored us all," says student Robert Stewart.

"I use ATMs all the time, and now I'm even more concerned than I was originally," says student Sally Similie. "I have to watch my back now."

Police insist the shooting was an isolated event. Sgt. Jon Barnwell of NCSU Public Safety says the last similar incident happened about 10 years ago.

"This is an isolated incident," Barnwell adds. "However, we don't want to take any chances with the university community. Again, our top priority is to ensure their safety."

Larry Baumgart says the bullet lodged in his son's neck, but no major damage was done. He also credits his son's roommate for quick thinking, taking the victim to a safe dorm and calling police.

Baumgart is a business management student.