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NU Student Shot at Walker after APA Party - Victim Relased from MGH; Police Disperse Crowd at New House

By Brett Altschul
and Christopher L. Falling
Staff Reporters

A Northeastern University student was shot in the leg outside Walker Memorial on Saturday morning as an Alpha Phi Alpha party in Walker was ending.

Clifton Whilby, 18, was shot in the upper right thigh at 1:09 a.m. by another Northeastern student, apparently because of a dispute over a woman, according to police and wire service reports.

Whilby was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was treated and released, according to Cambridge Police. He could not be reached for comment.

The party was a step-dance organized by Alpha Phi Alpha, a primarily black non-residential fraternity. About 500 people, all with identification, attended, according to the Campus Police.

The shooting occurred on Memorial Drive between Walker and Building 14 as people were leaving the party, according to the Campus Police.

After the shooting, many of the partygoers went to New House, expecting an after-party at Chocolate City. Campus Police and Cambridge Police dispersed the crowd, and two men were arrested for trespassing.

The party was a fundraiser for a scholarship for students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

APA calls police to help end party

The Campus Police operated metal detectors at the entrance of Walker, but nobody tried to enter with a gun, and there were no incidents inside, said APA member Craig Robinson '97.

The party stopped admitting people at around midnight because Walker was full, Robinson said. However, some people remained outside, still wanting to enter.

When the party ended at roughly 1 a.m., the APA brothers called the Campus Police, asking them to provide security after the end of the party, Robinson said.

It is not clear whether Whilby had ever been inside the party or had remained in the crowd outside.

"It's very unfortunate, but there was really nothing we could do about it," Robinson said. "The event happened outside of the party."

"We did everything we could to preserve security," Robinson said. "The shooting was just beyond our control."

After the shooting, people began flooding back into Walker, according to the Campus Police. The Campus Police ordered everyone inside and allowed people to exit through the rear doors. The Cambridge Police were called to investigate, and recovered a shell casing.

People try to enter New House

After the party, a reception was planned for MITmembers of APA and their guests at New House, said Keith D. Smith '97, vice president of APA. An official APA after-party took place in Boston.

"We all rushed in there to ensure that there was no overflow," Smith said. The gathering of about 40 people was "more like a birthday party setting than a dance party," Smith said.

A large number of uninvited guests from the Walker party arrived at New House under the assumption that Chocolate City was having an after-party, Smith said.

Erion J. Clark '98, a member of Chocolate City, was working the New House desk from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. While members of Chocolate City and APA stood in the New House entrance to act as a filter, individuals in the crowd became unruly, prompting Clark to call the Campus Police.

The first police officer was dispatched to New House at 1:21 a.m., said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin.

Approximately 200 people were inside and outside the dormitory creating traffic difficulties and becoming unruly, according to police reports.

Freddy Bernier of Mattapan and Jean Fontaint of Cambridge were arrested for trespassing by the Campus Police. After the arrests, the crowd became easier to control, and the Campus Police began to disperse them with the assistance of the Cambridge Police, who were already present because of the shooting at Walker.

"I think the Campus Police did a great job in helping clear individuals," Smith said."I don't think it escalated to anything major."

Additionally, five illegally parked cars were towed, including the vehicles of the individuals arrested.

Extra perimeter may be needed

To prevent further violence in the future, a security perimeter around Walker may need to be set up in order to provide greater safety, Smith said.

As for the overflows into New House, "we are working as hard as we can that the leakage is minimized," Smith said.

"I don't think it would be necessary to cancel the event entirely because that punishes the majority for the acts of a few," Smith said. "People do come to events to have fun and not to be disruptive."

David D. Hsu contributed to the reporting of this story.