Jaylen Burns, a 21-year-old Chicago native and student at Jackson State University, was shot and killed on campus.

Burns, an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. member, was a senior industrial technology major at the HBCU in Jackson, Mississippi. 

According to ABC 7, his father said Burns accompanied his frat brother as he attempted to break up with his girlfriend and retrieve his belongings from her residence. 

She invited others, and Burns’ father believes someone in the group had a gun, and a fight ensued. He said his son tried breaking up the fight when he was shot and killed.

“He wasn’t a violent kid, he didn’t know anything about guns or fighting or gangs, you know, anything about that,” Jason Burns said, ABC 7 reported. “He just-I don’t know, I never felt like this before in my life.”

In honor of the late student, Alpha Phi Alpha shared heartfelt sentiments on their official website

“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. offers our deepest prayers and condolences to the Burns family, the entire Fraternity, the Delta Phi Chapter, and friends and fellow students at Jackson State University,” Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. General President Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, III said. “Brother Burns was an active campus leader who has been praised by the Fraternity, fellow students, and even Jackson State University Acting Preisdent Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony. While every life has value, it is especially heartbreaking when we mourn the death of someone who is trying to make a difference and be of service on campus and in the lives of others.” 


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Jackson State University suspended classes on Monday and held a vigil honoring Burns on Tuesday, 16 WAPT News reported.

Police said Burns tried driving himself to the hospital after the shooting and encountered officers. After being transported to the hospital, Burns, who would have turned 22 in November, died.

Burns’ father, Jason, told the Clarion Ledger, “When you come in contact with him, you wanted to be a better person. He was special. If we could have bottled it up and kept it, I think we would have.”

The family said he had dreams such as studying astrophysics and becoming an auto mechanic.

“He was special, and he had a way of letting people know that he was meant for great things,” said his mother, La’Trice Wright. “His footsteps were walking toward greatness. They were walking toward destiny.”

Aside from being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha’s Delta Phi Chapter, Burns made dean’s list every year and was president of the C100 Chapter at Jackson State University, which is a part of the 100 Black Men of America org.