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Safety on and around GCU's campus is top concern of students after student struck by stray bullet near campus

University officials said two stray bullets entered the GCU campus. One struck a student near The Rivers Residence Halls.

PHOENIX — A student was hospitalized after being struck by a stray bullet on Grand Canyon University's campus Wednesday night.

Phoenix police said there was an off-campus dispute just before 6 p.m. near 37th and Vermont avenues that led to multiple gunshots being fired.

Police said when officers arrived on the scene, they found evidence of gunfire but no victims. While officers were canvassing the area, they learned two victims arrived at a local hospital with gunshot injuries.

Authorities said initial information indicated the two victims were present during the shooting. Both victims, an adult male and a teenage female, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said. 

Phoenix police said while officers were investigating the shooting, they learned a stray bullet struck a male student, later identified as Jay Morales, on GCU's campus. 

GCU and Phoenix police both said that the student was struck near The Rivers Residence Halls, which is closer to 29th and Missouri avenues.

Authorities said Morales was transported to the hospital with a non-life threatening injury and is expected to be okay.

His family told the university "that the support he has received from friends on campus has been overwhelming, and they “are thankful that we have been able to send him to school at GCU.”

"That's really sad for the person that actually got hurt from it," Ally Kunce, a GCU student, said. 

School officials said another stray bullet struck one of GCU's residence halls but did not injure any students.

The university said Phoenix police advised the immediate neighborhood and the university campus were in no danger and that a lockdown of the campus is not necessary.

"We do recommend that students, for their own safety, use good judgment and remain on campus this evening," GCU officials said. 

Students told 12News that they usually feel safe when they're on campus. 

"I feel pretty safe. Like in the gates like you're okay, and there's obviously resources, you can get help with public safety," Kunce, a GCU freshman said. 

While sophomore Noah Miller has said he's felt safe on campus in the past, this incident has him more concerned. 

"It's supposed to be a safe campus and for it to actually hit someone while they're on campus, kind of unsettling for me," Miller said.

Miller's concern has been with what he's seen off-campus. 

"We should be able to step off campus and be safe," Miller said. 

Some students told 12News that information about what happened on-campus was slow to come, while others said they were grateful to receive the full picture after what happened. 

In a statement, GCU said since it was determined there wasn't an immediate threat to the community, they waited to send information so they could notify the injured student's parents. 

Adding in the statement that the campus is safe, with a 200-person police force on campus, and GCU has also had a Neighborhood Safety Initiative with the City of Phoenix for ten years. 

"Unfortunately, as we are seeing in many major cities in the U.S., we have been seeing an uptick in crime in the past few months in the City of Phoenix and our surrounding community," part of the statement said. 

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Arizona's Silent Witness program allows people to send in tips and share information about crimes happening within their local communities. 

The program shares unsolved felony case information in multiple ways, including TV, radio and social media. 

Anyone who has information on a crime or recognizes a suspect described by the program is asked to call 480-948-6377, go to the program's website online or download the Silent Witness app to provide a tip. The identity of anyone who submits a tip is kept anonymous. 

Calls to Silent Witness are answered 24/7 by a live person and submitted tips are accepted at all times. Submitted tips are then sent to the detective(s) in charge of the specific case. 

Individuals who submit tips that lead to an arrest or indictment in the case can get a reward of up to $1,000. 

Have a tip? Submit it on the Silent Witness tip form here. 

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