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Black College Reunion Called Success

April 12, 1999

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ City officials played down the violence at this year’s Black College Reunion, describing the two shootings and two stabbings as isolated incidents.

``We didn’t have a public safety disaster. We didn’t have any violence in the streets. No law enforcement officers were injured and we also did a good job of protecting the property of Daytona Beach residents,″ Mayor Bud Asher said Sunday.

One person died and three were hospitalized during the weekend’s events, which drew as many as 100,000 people for cruising, partying and ogling members of the opposite sex.

Police wrote 2,400 citations and made more than 300 arrests, including 12 for on charges of possession of firearms and related counts.

The shootings happened about 4 a.m. Sunday outside the a hotel, apparently after an argument began when a drink was poured on a woman.

Craig Grover of Jacksonville was shot in the head died Sunday night at Halifax Medical Center, nursing supervisor Judith Dyke said. Ansie Pierre, 24, of Miami was found wounded in the abdomen at a nearby motel. He was listed in stable condition.

``I came here to get away from that kind of thing,″ said Bob Brown, 27, of Youngstown, Ohio, who was checking out of the Sea Dip hotel, near where the shooting happened.

Two stabbings were reported, one in Daytona Beach and the other in nearby Ormond Beach.

Both Asher and Charles Cherry, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Daytona Beach, said similar problems occur at other special events in Daytona Beach such as Bike Week and Spring Break.

In 1998, a man was killed and four police officers were wounded in a shootout, 329 arrests were made and 926 citations were written over the three-day event.

Black College Reunion, started in 1984 as a gathering of Bethune-Cookman College and Florida A&M students and graduates, now competes with Atlanta’s Freaknik as the place to go for a ``black spring break.″

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