Eighteen-year-old Jabril Muhammad was just getting ready to start his freshman year at Buffalo State College when something horrible happened to him over the weekend.
Late Friday, a band of five or six thugs attacked and robbed Muhammad and two fellow students when they went out to get something to eat near the campus. And when the victims tried to run away, police said, one of the robbers fired five or six shots at them, striking Muhammad and shattering his forearm.
The incident shocked members of Muhammad's Buffalo family and upset students at the college.
"It's outrageous. My brother would not hurt anybody," the shooting victim's brother, Larry Muhammad Jr., 25, told The Buffalo News on Sunday. "They shot him for no reason."
As bad as the incident was, it could have been worse. Muhammad underwent surgery at Erie County Medical Center this Sunday afternoon and is expected to recover, his family said.
The shooting was part of a bad weekend for Buffalo State students, which also included the violent robbery of a female student and the collapse of a second-story deck, which injured three young people who were attending a student party at an off-campus apartment.
For freshmen such as Mike Stanco and Zach Ciciera, and other Buffalo State students, it was an unsettling way to begin the school year.
"My reaction, when I heard it, was 'That's scary. I don't want to get shot,'?" said Ciciera, 18, of Orchard Park. "Guys are telling me, just stay out of that neighborhood."
Similar comments came from Stanco, also 18, of Long Island, and six other students who spoke to The News on campus Sunday.
Police said Muhammad and two other students were attacked in a neighborhood several blocks from the school, at Potomac Avenue and Grant Street.
Authorities said the students were attacked by six young men who beat them and took their wallets and cellphones. Even after the students tried to run away, one of the attackers fired an estimated five or six shots at them, police said. Muhammad was the only one hit by gunfire.
And early Saturday morning, two young women - one of them a Buffalo State student - were robbed of their purses by four men, also not far from the campus.
The two incidents prompted campus police to issue a safety advisory to all students.
"I'm upset about it, but not really surprised. If you go to school here, there are certain neighborhoods you learn to stay away from," said Danielle Grant, 20, who was interviewed on campus with her friend, Shantrese Fuller, 21. Both students are seniors from Brooklyn.
"On this campus, I feel safe," Fuller said. "Just a short walk away - right over that way - it's a rough neighborhood. . I don't feel so safe there, especially at night."
As she spoke, Fuller pointed toward the Grant Street neighborhood where the student was shot. Grant, her friend, nodded.
Students also were upset to hear about the deck collapse on Grant Street. Three young people attending a house party suffered minor injuries early Sunday when a section of the second-floor wooden deck they were standing on collapsed from their weight.
That 1:30 a.m. incident occurred at a large white building that houses apartments and a barber shop at 593-597 Grant St., just a couple of minutes' walk from campus. Fire officials said they believe the injured victims were students. A long, narrow wooden deck runs along the rear of the building, roughly 15 feet above the ground.
"I was invited to that party. . Glad I didn't go," Fuller said.
City officials said housing inspectors visited the site shortly after the collapse and are considering whether to file housing violations against the property owner, identified in Erie County records as Jimmy B. Stanfield.
Stanfield said he rents apartments in the building to Buffalo State students. He said he is thankful that "no one got killed."
"I called the hospital, and I was told they had minor injuries," Stanfield said. "The porch is safe. They had too many people partying up there. . I was told they were partying like rock stars and they had the entire porch full of people."
"It sounded like a gun going off when that deck came down. It woke me right up," said a neighbor who declined to give his name. "I saw a group of people, screaming and crying. . One girl was bleeding bad from her mouth."
Buffalo Police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said police continue to investigate the robbery and the shooting, as well as the robbery of two young women that took place at Richmond Avenue and Dorchester Road.
At that intersection, a Buffalo State student and a friend were accosted and robbed of their purses about 3:50 a.m. Saturday. The four men who attacked them displayed no weapons.
The robberies, assaults and shooting at Grant and Potomac occurred about 11:20 p.m. Friday, police said.
In an email to a News reporter, Jabril's father, Larry Muhammad, said his son and two roommates went out to get a late night snack "after a long day of track and field."
"[Five] black males attack them from behind. Taking their money and cell phones. Then decided to beat kick and stomp the young men," the elder Muhammad said in his email. "Then one of then pulled out a hand gun, firing five shots. Striking my son Jabril."
"My wife and I want Buffalo State College to increase police presence," the email continued. "It is a terrifying experience when [parents] send their children off to college and receive a phone call stating that your son has been robbed, beaten and shot."
The family is especially concerned about security in the neighborhoods near the college that are patrolled by Buffalo police, added Larry Muhammad Jr.
Police are aware of safety concerns in the neighborhoods near Buffalo State and are working to address them, according to both DeGeorge and Peter M. Carey, chief of the college's police force.
"Every year, when the school year starts, we send more patrols over to that area. We advise students to be aware of the surroundings, to travel with friends and to contact 911 immediately when they see something that concerns them," DeGeorge said. "Incidents like this can happen anywhere, anytime."
Carey said his department has "an excellent working relationship" with Buffalo police. He said students need to be cautious when venturing into neighborhoods on the Grant Street side of the college.
"We talk to students every year about their concerns about these neighborhoods," Carey said. "The students who were victimized [over the weekend] were just out, visiting friends. From everything we can determine, they didn't do anything to provoke anything."
"We need our students to be aware . the front part of our campus is great, but some nearby neighborhoods" are not as safe, Carey added.
Ray Indelicato and Mark Roberts, two 19-year-old sophomores from Westchester, said they are fully aware of what neighborhoods to stay away from. Indelicato said one of his friends was "jumped and beaten up" by thugs last year as he left a bar close to the scene of Friday night's shooting incident.
"That corner is notorious," Indelicato said. "When you're on campus, the campus police are right on the spot. Off-campus, it's a little more difficult."
Roberts said he has heard of students being assaulted or harassed in neighborhoods near the school, but Friday's incident was the first he's heard about a Buffalo State student being shot.
Sophomores Dan Voetsch, 20, of Newburgh, and Aaron Soodek, 20, of Long Island, said they too feel safer on the campus. "You hate to hear about someone being shot near your college," Voetsch said, "but I know things like this have happened in other parts of the state."
Classes began at Buffalo State last week.