April 2018, News & Features

Falcon Family rallies around injured student

When Saint Augustine’s University students left for spring break, everyone was thinking about fun and relaxation. Who would have imagined that an individual from our institution would be critically injured during the break?

Howard Boone, a junior criminal justice major from here in Raleigh, North Carolina, was shot in the back of the neck outside a nightclub in Columbia, South Carolina, where he had gone to visit friends.

The incident happened on March 18, 2018, around 2 a.m. after Boone and his friends had left the club. During an altercation in which Boone was an innocent victim, a shooting left Boone and two other victims critically injured. He was seriously injured and remains hospitalized.

The incident has caused Boone’s Falcon family to rally around him.

“The university continues to pray for Mr. Boone and his family,” President Everett B. Ward said in a statement after the incident. “Mr. Boone is a model student and well respected among his peers.”

Boone’s campus activities include being is a member of ROTC Army Program, serving as Mister Junior for the Student Government Association and being a member of Superior Sound Marching Band.

Josh Daye, a senior in the ROTC program, said, “We are saddened by the news of our friend Howard Boone. We give our deepest thoughts and prayers to him and his family we will lift them up in the time of sadness.”

Cymone Grant, another ROTC program member, added, “It is very unfortunate and devastating within the ROTC community cause he is a good cadet and personally a great friend. I will continue to keep in in my prayers every single day.”

Devin Hayes, a band member, said, “From cracking jokes to beating drums, Boone has been a great friend and brother of mine. I know that Boone is strong. I know that he is blessed and highly favored and I know that God will see him through this struggle. With love, high hopes and many prayers I’m sure that Howard will walk out of the hospital the same way he was before he entered with a little extra wisdom and a different mindset.”

Members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. started a campaign on GoFundMe to raise money for Boone and his family. As of Aug. 7, it had raised $4,500.

“When a situation like this occurs, we’re all family, so we want to be able to jump in,” said Grady Bussey, a member of Omega Psi Phi taking part in the campaign. “It was that commitment to his fellow students that made Boone a prospective member of the fraternity, Bussey said. “The fraternity has always looked at young men with leadership and community involvement, and he showed that with the ROTC, and tutoring and being a leader on campus.”

It is unclear how much Boone will be able to recover from his injuries. Before the incident, he clearly was not only extremely active but courageous.

In a promotional video made by the ROTC program. Boone talks about his ROTC experience at the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga.

“I was the only African-American male cadet that was there our of about 60 cadets that were there, so in my head I was like, ‘There’s no way I can fail.’ I knew I had to come back with my airborne wings,” he said.

Boone completed five parachute jumps and earned his wings.

Hayes encouraged students to be optimistic. “Please, don’t walk around sad and distraught,” he said. “Remember as soldiers in the army of the Lord we cannot pray and worry. Continue walking in faith and remember it’s in God’s hands.”

— Sterling Raynor