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MD University Student Sues After Shooting

BALTIMORE (CN) - Claiming that Morgan State University fostered "an atmosphere of crime and violence," a student injured in school shooting has sued for damages.

"Morgan failed to adhere to its own Mission Statement and Crime Prevention Policies," the April 8 complaint filed in Baltimore City District Court claims.

Tyrell Okoro says he was a sophomore football player on the day of the shooting - Nov. 30, 2012.

Morgan was allegedly on notice about crime and violence at the university because there had been a drug-related shooting in the student center just two months earlier.

Furthermore, just four months before that, a Morgan student attacked another man attending graduation ceremonies with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, according to the complaint.

Okoro says he was shot outside the same place that this attack occurred, the Thurgood Marshall Apartments on the Morgan campus.

A student named Daryl Traynham, or "Lil Daryl," lived in Thurgood, according to the complaint, which names only the school as a defendant.

In addition to playing for the school's basketball team, Traynham allegedly had a criminal record.

Traynham believed that someone on the football team owed him money, Okoro says, and brought an armed enforcer, Keith Robertson, on campus to help him collect.

Though Robertson and Traynham confronted the football player, they did not obtain any money, according to the complaint.

Okoro says he and his teammates, including the one thought to owe Traynham money, were trying to enter Thurgood when "Robertson, who was standing with Lil Daryl on the balcony, opened fire with the gun he had brought with him, discharging eight to ten shots."

Several of those bullets hit Okoro, causing injuries to "his spleen, small bowel, colon, bladder, diaphragm and lower extremeties," according to the complaint.

During an 11-day hospital stay, Okoro says he had his spleen removed.

Robertson ultimately pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 20 years suspended, according to the complaint.

Crime and violence have plagued Morgan State for years. In 2010 Thaddeus Davis of the Fraternal Order Police allegedly wrote a letter to Attorney General Douglas Gansler that said department leadership "is under reporting crimes in an effort to conceal a problem with crime on and around Morgan's campus."

This past March, the school was the scene of a stabbing that left three students injured.

Okoro seeks damages for negligence and premises liability. He is represented by Robert Hanley Jr. of Nolan, Plumhoof & Williams in Towson.

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