On January 25, 2020, to welcome college students back to the community for the second semester, Thelma’s Down Home Cooking, a local restaurant hosted a college party. Before this event took place, based on social media posts and conversations with other students, the students at both, Catawba and Livingstone College, were very excited and anticipated a good time. Although the students were excited to celebrate together, no student was prepared for the tragedy that would take place at midnight on January 26, 2020.
Before students entered the party, they were patted down by security, paid the fee of $5, then were allowed into the party. After a few hours of dancing, celebrating, and partying, the back to school celebration then turned into complete chaos. First, a swift argument turns into a fistfight, which then leads to six people being shot and several people being trampled over.
During this chaotic scene, students had to force their way out of the restaurant by breaking glass doors and windows, climbing out windows, or escaping through the nearest unlocked exit. In recent interviews, students have compared this horrific nightmare to hell; from trying to find a way out of the dark venue to the high pitch screams and grunts all over the parking lot.
After the shooting, students gathered their friends and loved ones in the parking lot and reconvened at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center for treatment. Unfortunately, a student from Livingstone College was severely injured, which required him to be airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Although, the Salisbury Police Department is still actively working to solve the case, since the shooting, all victims have been released from the hospital and Thelma’s Down Home Cooking Restaurant has been permanently closed down.