A 2015 graduate of Thea Bowman Leadership Academy, who was in her freshman year at Southern University, was one of two students shot and killed outside an apartment complex Sunday after attending a party.
Annette January, a member of Southern University’s track and field team, and Lashuntae Benton, a student athletic trainer at the university, were both shot outside the complex by a former Southern University student.
January, 19, was attending Southern on a full track scholarship where she ran the 100- and 400- hurdles on the team.
Jerae Protho-Guider, a teacher and January’s former track coach at Thea Bowman who was influential in helping her to obtain her scholarship to Southern, said it was her understanding that there was an argument between two gentlemen during the party at the apartment. “After the party, they were shooting at each other outside. In the process, the two young ladies were shot.”
Protho-Guider said authorities are unaware which one of the two who were shooting killed the two young ladies. One of the persons involved in the gun fight was shot, but does not have any life-threatening injuries and he is expected to be recover.
“They do not know whose gun the bullets came from that killed the two girls. I do know that the one who wasn’t shot is in custody and the other is in the hospital.”
Protho-Guider said January chose to attend Southern University because of the weather in the area; she wanted new surroundings; liked what she heard about the school; had friends who attended there; and the school gave her a nice amount of scholarship money.
“She didn’t want to be a burden on her parents, so she felt that was a good choice for her. She worked really hard for that scholarship and felt accomplished by accepting it.”
January was majoring in criminal justice.
Protho-Guider said the last time she spoke with January was in March. “She called me because it was time for our indoor state track meet at Thea Bowman. She wanted to wish the girls ‘good luck’ and throughout the entire track meet, she actually became another coach for us. I could call her and get ideas from her. We would talk to each other often about the team. Even though she wasn’t here, she was still actively involved in Thea Bowman’s track team.”
January’s mother informed Protho-Guider that there haven’t been any other further updates.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson issued the following statement regarding the shooting that claimed the life of Annette January:
“On Sunday morning, many of us in the city were greeted with the devastating news that two young ladies—students at Louisiana Southern University—were victims of gun violence near the campus that claimed their lives; a senseless tragedy. More devastating, the news reported one of the young ladies was from Gary, Indiana.
Annette January, a 2015 graduate of Thea Bowman, in the top 10 of her class, a star athlete, fulfilling dreams and doing all the things our parents would like for us to do. Like others, it just doesn’t make sense that the life of a young person poised for success would abruptly end through gun violence in our nation’s streets. We must continue the fight and our work to take drastic measures to stop the flow of guns on city streets.
On behalf of all of the citizens of Gary, we send our heartfelt condolences, our prayers and our love to Annette’s parents, family and friends and to the Thea Bowman family.”