WOODY BAIRD Associated Press Writer MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
A University of Memphis football player was fatally shot on campus in what was believed to be a targeted attack, and classes were canceled today as a precaution, officials said. Taylor Bradford, 21, was shot near a university housing complex about 9:45 p.m. Sunday and then got into a car, driving a short distance before it crashed into a tree, officials said. "We found him with a bullet wound to the body and the ambulance took him to the hospital where he was pronounced (dead)," said Roger Prewitt, a Memphis Police inspector. Bradford, a 5-foot-11, 300- pound defensive lineman from Nashville, was a junior who transferred to Memphis after two s easons at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. University officials closed residence halls on campus for about a half-hour after the shooting before police learned that the shooting was likely personal, spokesman Curt Gunther said. In an e-mail alert sent to faculty, staff and students at 3:40 a. m. today, officials wrote that "the initial investigation indicates this was an act directed specifically toward the victim and was not a random act of violence." The university decided to cancel classes today, although police believe the person or persons involved in the shooting left the campus immediately. "We feel like the campus is safe, but we'd rather err on the safety than not," Gunther said. The school's administrative and athletic officials were meeting this morning to discuss the shooting. The Memphis Tigers host Ma r s h a l l U n i v e r s i t y ' s Thundering Herd Tuesday night. A moment of silence was planned before the game. Bradford transferred to the school in 2006 and is on the roster this season, but has not made any plays to be listed in the team's statistics. Bradford lettered in three sports at Antioch High School, and holds school records in shotput and discus. The university had 20,562 students enrolled for last fall, according to its Web site. The school was founded in 1912 as West Tennessee State No rmal Scho o l and was renamed Memphis State College in 1941. It became Memphis State University in 1957, two years before it admitted its first black students. I t wa s r e n ame d t h e University of Memphis in 1994.