The five Duquesne men's basketball players were shot early Sunday morning after walking away from a woman and her disgruntled boyfriend, neither of whom were students at the Pittsburgh campus, one of the players who was shot told ESPN.com.
Shawn James, who led the country in shot blocking last season at Northeastern, told ESPN.com Monday morning by phone from his dorm room that he and his teammates were shot after they headed back to their dorms following a Black Student Union dance event on campus. James was shot in the foot and was treated and released.
"It wasn't an argument," James said. "We were just coming from a party. This girl that everybody keeps talking about was just a female who liked someone on the basketball team. She was just casually talking to him.
"Her boyfriend called her over and they were arguing," James said as he gave his first-person account. "Then the guy started saying stuff to us. It was our whole team. James (right), seen here in the CAA tournament, on what happened: "We told him we had no time for this and as soon as we turned away, two guys started shooting."
"We told him we had no time for this and as soon as we turned away, two guys started shooting," James said. "It was just some girl who didn't go to the school. She had her arms around one of [the players] and hugged up on his waist and the boyfriend saw that."
"We were walking away, some five to 10 feet away from the guys and then I got shot," James said. James said he got hit and ran through the nearby football field. He thought he injured his toe or sprained his foot at first. But he stopped, "took off my sneaker because it was burning and saw the hole in my foot. My sock was all red."
"I promise you, we were just walking away and then five seconds later, no more, there were shots. It was 12 or more shots. There were two shooters. The guys were just shooting at everything and everybody. The team was hit because we were all together." -- Duquesne forward Shawn James
James said the bullet is still lodged in his left foot. He said the foot is swollen and he has to go back to the hospital to see if the bullet can be removed after doctors didn't initially see the bullet on an X-ray. "I can't walk or put pressure on it," James said.
As of Monday morning, Pittsburgh police were still looking for the gunman or gunmen.
James said he didn't see his other teammates go down or players come to their aid, as Duquesne coach Ron Everhart described to ESPN.com and others Sunday night, because James ran to a football field to escape the gunfire. He said he did see his friend and teammate, Siena transfer Kojo Mensah, get shot and then run into a dorm where he was shot again as he opened the door.
"Kojo was the first one who got shot and he was yelling, 'yo-yo, they've got guns,' he was running and pushing people out of the way and he got shot in his back [shoulder] and then ran into the building," James said. "We ran in separate areas but Sam [Ashaolu] and Stuard [Baldonado] were in the same place where they got shot."
Ashaolu remains in critical condition, fighting for his life, according to multiple sources with a bullet lodged in his head. Baldonado is in serious condition after a bullet entered his abdomen and nipped his third lumbar, causing concern for the spine, according to sources.
"This is a major blow. I don't know how you move forward. It's not like we sit down and deal with this. We don't know if any of these guys will be in a basketball mindset and perform. We're not sure how we're going to do this." --Shawn James
"I promise you, we were just walking away and then five seconds later, no more, there were shots," James said. "It was 12 or more shots. There were two shooters. The guys were just shooting at everything and everybody. The team was hit because we were all together. It was a regular campus party."
James said there were no metal scanners at the event, which was apparently open to the general public. "None of us were armed," James said. "We don't bring guns. We're not those kinds of people. We were just having innocent fun. I definitely feel safe here. I'm not sure why people would shoot at someone walking away from them. I don't understand that. The [shooters] don't go to the school and that girl didn't go to the school."
James said he can't stop thinking about his foot and his career as well as his two friends in the hospital, hoping Ashaolu will survive and Baldonado will be healthy.
James, 23, who has an NBA future due to his shot-blocking ability, will sit out and have two seasons of eligibility remaining. He averaged 6.5 blocks a game at Northeastern but wanted to follow his coach, Everhart, to Duquesne, moving from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic 10.
"When I first got hit in my foot, I didn't know how serious it was, how long I'd be out, I wasn't sure if it hit any bones," James said. "Mentally this is really killing me if I won't be back 100 percent."
Duquesne returned only two players from last season's three-win team under Danny Nee. James and Mensah are sitting out this season.
"To tell you the truth, I don't know I really don't know," James said of how Duquesne will move forward with this season. "This is a major blow. I don't know how you move forward. It's not like we sit down and deal with this. We don't know if any of these guys will be in a basketball mindset and perform. We're not sure how we're going to do this." For now, James said, he's mainly thinking about his two friends, his two new teammates, who are still in the hospital with their fates unknown.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.