- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2007

DOVER, Del. (AP) A Delaware State University student accused of shooting two other students last week said he fired a gun and promised to stay out of trouble if he got away with the shooting, according to court documents.

In a police affidavit, a witness told investigators that Loyer D. Braden, 18, a freshman from East Orange, N.J., arrived at an apartment and was “visibly shaking” on the night of Sept. 21 after he was questioned as a person of interest in the shooting earlier that day.

A witness also told police of meeting Mr. Braden on Sunday, after authorities determined he was a suspect, and listening while Mr. Braden talked about the shooting.

“Braden told witness … if he gets away with this shooting he would never do anything like this again,” university police Lt. Donald Baynard said in the affidavit.

Information in the affidavit, which had been heavily redacted, was unsealed yesterday by a Court of Common Pleas judge, following a request by the Associated Press.

Names of victims and witnesses in the case remain redacted, but the unsealed information sheds new light on the shooting.

The affidavit also refers to a witness who saw Mr. Braden coming from the direction of the shooting and leaving in a green Pontiac Grand Prix. The car, registered to Mr. Braden’s father, in New Jersey, was found earlier this week at the home of Mr. Braden’s aunt, near Salisbury, Md.

Another witness heard Mr. Braden say he “fired several gunshots in the air to scare the victims,” Lt. Baynard wrote in the affidavit.

Mr. Braden is scheduled to appear today at a preliminary hearing on charges of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Defense attorney James Liguori said he would not waive the preliminary hearing and would ask the court to review the state’s probable cause information.

Mr. Braden is being held at the Delaware Correctional Center in lieu of $75,000 bond.

“He’s a nice young man,” said Mr. Liguori, who has visited Mr. Braden in prison. “He doesn’t want to be where he’s at, obviously.”

Prosecutors have filed a motion to increase the bail amount. Jason Miller, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said he could not provide the reason for the motion but that it would be among issues discussed at the hearing today.

Police think the gunman was aiming at someone other than the two shooting victims, Nathaniel Pugh III and Shalita Middleton. The two 17-year-olds from the District were shot Sept. 21 shortly before 1 a.m., after students got into an argument at the on-campus Village Cafe late on Sept. 20.

Miss Middleton was hospitalized in serious condition after being shot in the abdomen and lower back. Mr. Pugh was shot once in the ankle.

Mr. Braden is also accused of firing at another student, freshman James O. Richmond. Authorities declined to discuss what, if any, role Mr. Richmond had in the shooting or the events leading up to it. But the affidavit suggests Mr. Pugh, Miss Middleton and Mr. Richmond were together at the Village Cafe and left at the same time, followed shortly thereafter by Mr. Braden.

According to the affidavit, the run-in at the Village Cafe was preceded by an altercation Sept. 18 in which one of the victims spit saliva and blood in Mr. Braden’s face after receiving a small cut under his lip.

Mr. Braden was arrested Monday at about 3:30 a.m. in his dorm room by Dover police and university officers.

University officials, who assured the community after the shooting that the gunman was no longer on campus, will not say how or why he was allowed to return to campus. Mr. Braden apparently was allowed to enter through the main gate, travel across campus and use his key card to enter his dorm before being taken into custody. Authorities have not recovered the gun used in the shootings.

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