Sacramento State University student bludgeoned to death www.privateofficer.com
Two months after he moved from his Santa Clara home to a brand new Sacramento State University dormitory, Scott Gregory Hawkins told his parents he was adjusting well and liked the roommates in his five-person suite.
But in a shocking outburst of violence, Hawkins was bludgeoned to death inside his room Wednesday afternoon. University police say the suspect is one of those roommates, who himself was shot and wounded after officers say he lunged at them with a knife.
Hawkins, a transfer student from West Valley College, died later in the day at UC-Davis Medical Center, according to police.
Police arrested Quran Jones, 19, who witnesses reported seeing wielding a baseball bat just before university police arrived, according to Sgt. Joe Green. Police first fired pepper balls at Jones, then they fired bullets. Jones, who is in stable and fair condition at UC-Davis Medical Center, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. Police would not disclose specifics on his injuries but said he is expected to survive.
“We have not been able to determine any sort of motive or what may have led to this,” Green said.
Hawkins’ father, Gerald Hawkins, of Santa Clara, told the Mercury News his son didn’t have problems with any of his roommates. The younger Hawkins lived in a dormitory that opened just before the fall semester. He and Jones were the only ones present in the suite at the time of the assault, police said.
University officials closed off the suite and moved its three other occupants to other rooms, Green said. The rest of the dorm, called American River Courtyard, remains open.
Hawkins, who was pursuing a degree in history, recently talked to his parents about his adjustment to campus life.
“He was doing very well; we talked with him frequently,” Gerald Hawkins said. “He hadn’t been having any issues. He’s a very gentle person and would never raise a hand to defend himself.”
Scott Hawkins graduated from Mountain View Academy in 2004 and was “a person who really cared about other people and was a very generous, giving and caring person,” his father said. His son was obsessed with history and wanted to eventually become a history teacher or professor.
Scott Hawkins had Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, “that made him very obsessive about his favorite things,” his father said. He especially enjoyed studying ancient European and Middle Eastern history and was hoping he could graduate with a minor in one of those areas, his father said.
“He could go on and on about the history of Rome or the reasons that the Greek empire did this or that,” Gerald Hawkins said.
The attack was reported just before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when one of the dorm’s resident assistants called police after hearing a loud disturbance coming from one of the suites.
Tsegay Arefaine, a 19-year-old resident of American River Courtyard, told the Sacramento Bee that he and his roommate left their room to investigate loud noises they heard coming from the first floor. Arefaine told the Bee that they saw a male student “breaking everything in his room” with what he thought was an aluminum bat.
“He was going nuts,” Arefaine said. “He was breaking the windows, the furniture; he was even hitting himself in the head with his own bat.”
The first officers to arrive heard the commotion and saw windows being broken and things being thrown outside, Green said. Officers entered the room and saw Jones holding a knife. When Jones disregarded officers’ orders to drop the knife, he was struck several times with pepper ball pellets, Green said.
Then, police say, Jones raised the knife above his head and charged the officers. Jones was shot and wounded by the officers, Green said.
Police then found Hawkins, who was unconscious and appeared to have been hit on the head.
The two officers who fired guns at Jones, and who had not been identified as of Thursday, were placed on paid administrative leave while the police investigate the shooting.
It was the first killing of a student in 11 years, Green said. In 1998, a football fan shoved another fan, who hit his head on a concrete parking bumper. He died about a week later and the assailant was charged with his death.
Gerald Hawkins and his wife had met some of his son’s roommates after helping him move into the campus dorm, though they did not meet the student accused of killing their son.
“Scott never indicated any problems at all,” his father said.
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