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Jaylen Burns Shooting Death Suspects Arrested in Columbia, Ellisville

Jaylen Burns
Officials allege Joshua Brown, a Jones College student in Ellisville, Miss., fired the shot that killed Jackson State University student Jaylen Burns, pictured. Jones College Campus Police arrested Brown on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, and turned him over to the JSU Police Department.  Photo courtesy Burns Family

Police have arrested two suspects in the on-campus shooting death of Jackson State University student Jaylen Burns in Columbia, Miss., and Ellisville, Miss. Burns, 21, was killed on Sunday, Oct. 15 at an on campus apartment complex while trying to break up a fight, his father, Jason Burns, said.

JSU police announced the first arrest at a press conference Thursday after Jones College Campus Police arrested Joshua Brown, a JC student, on Wednesday and turned him over to the JSU Police Department. Brown is charged with murder and possessing a weapon on school property.

“We received a call late last night from Jones College campus police and were able to make the arrest,” JSU Police Chief Herman Horton said during the press conference, adding that more arrests could be coming as police continue to investigate the shooting.

“Anyone else involved in this … that contributed to the death of Mr. Burns, we will actively pursue the same type of warrants for those individuals,” he added.

JSU issued an update this morning, announcing that members of the Jackson State University Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Marshall Task Force and the Columbia Police Department have arrested Jamison Kelly Jr., a Marion County resident. The announcement describes him as “a second suspect in the shooting of JSU student Jaylen Burns.” No other information on the allegations against Kelly were provided.

“Additionally, suspect Joshua Brown appeared in Hinds County Court this morning, where he was denied bond. Brown and Kelly are not JSU students,” the JSU announcement said. “We’d like to thank our partners in the U.S. Marshall Task Force, Columbia Police Department and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance on this matter.”

JSU Acting President Dr. Elayne Hayes Anthony said during Thursday’s press conference that the Mississippi Department of Mental Health will be sending staff to JSU to assist grieving students who need mental health support.

“We pray that this will bring a sense of relief to the family. We will do everything in our power to enhance the safety of our campus,” Anthony said. Over the next few weeks, the university will be releasing additional information about increased campus safety measures, she added.

Burns’ death put gun reform and school safety back into the spotlight with the Mississippi chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action calling for state lawmakers to enact tighter gun laws.

Chief Horton refused to confirm that Burns was killed while trying to break up a fight during Thursday’s press conference, but said the investigation is ongoing.

“Right now, in order for us to maintain the integrity of this investigation, we’re not at liberty to reveal any more than what’s been put out,” he said.

Defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Ashton Pittman contributed to this report.

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