The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt community reacts to restaurant, apartment shootings in Nashville

The shootings, which both occurred last week, each resulted in one dead and took place less than four miles away from Vanderbilt’s campus.
Royce Yang
Skyscrapers and historical buildings in downtown Nashville, as photographed on March 15, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Royce Yang)

Two shootings occurred in Nashville this past week at the restaurant Roasted and South Fourth St., respectively. Both incidents were located less than four miles away from campus.

The first shooting occurred during a March 31 Easter brunch at Roasted, a restaurant in North Nashville. One man was killed, five others were injured and a pregnant woman was taken to the hospital due to a panic attack. The shooting was a result of an escalated conflict, though there was no indication the individuals knew each other beforehand. The gunman, Anton Rucker, fled the scene but was later taken into custody in Princeton, Kentucky.

The second shooting occurred on South Fourth St. in East Nashville at about 6 p.m. CDT on April 5. Deshawn Baker told detectives that he had invited David Mitchell and Dijon Simon to his house. Baker claimed that Simon pistol-whipped him in a robbery attempt, and the ensuing struggle with the gun led to multiple shots being fired. 

Bullets hit Mitchell, who died after being taken to the hospital, and Baker’s friend, 47-year-old Mario Sowell, who is currently in stable condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Though not at the scene when police arrived, Simon was found with a gunshot wound in a nearby apartment and taken to VUMC. 

Baker also left the scene before the police arrived but later reached out to detectives and was interviewed at the Metro Nashville Police Department Headquarters. He was released after claiming self-defense, though investigation remains ongoing. 

Though both incidents occurred just four miles from the Vanderbilt campus, students did not receive an AlertVU notification for either incident. In an email to The Hustler, Vanderbilt University Public Safety stated that there was no credible threat to the Vanderbilt community or any activities on campus.

“When it has been determined that a suspect has been identified and captured, an incident is not a threat to the community, or an incident targeted a particular individual, an AlertVU message will not be sent to the community,” VUPS said in reference to the March 31 incident.

First-year Varun Bussa, a Knoxville, Tennessee, resident, expressed that Easter and other holidays should be an opportunity for people to celebrate with their communities. 

“For a joyous moment like that to be diminished to a breach of safety and security is truly heartbreaking to see,” Bussa said.

Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society and gun violence expert, conveyed frustration toward gun misuse in Tennessee and its lack of gun safety laws.  

“Even though more people in Tennessee support gun safety laws, our political system increasingly makes it easier for people to get guns in ways that increase the chances of gun violence,” Metzl told The Hustler. “Even [last] week in the Tennessee legislature, Republican lawmakers shot down a bunch of gun safety bills that were proposed that would have reduced gun crime.”

He believes certain laws could stop the flow of guns into the illegal gun market. 

“One was proposed by Sen. Heidi Campbell in Tennessee last week to stop straw purchases of guns, where people buy guns and then give it up to somebody else,” Metzl said.

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About the Contributors
Swarada Kulkarni
Swarada Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Swarada Kulkarni (‘27) is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of writing for The Hustler, she enjoys singing, reading books and exploring new restaurants with her friends. She can be reached at [email protected].
Royce Yang
Royce Yang, Staff Photographer
Royce Yang (‘27) is planning to major in political science in the College of Arts and Science. He can occasionally be observed curating an extensive collection of Bach or attempting to identify helicopters around the Medical Center based on their noise. You can reach him at [email protected].
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