The mother of a Winston-Salem State University football player fatally shot in 2018 on Wake Forest University’s campus is appealing a decision to dismiss her wrongful-death lawsuit.
Mother of WSSU student fatally shot on Wake Forest’s campus is appealing decision to dismiss her lawsuit. | Crime
Najee Ali Baker, 21, was shot to death on a road outside The Barn on Jan. 20, 2018. He had gotten involved in an altercation at The Barn during a party and left with a friend. Jakier Shanique Austin, 24, was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in Baker’s death. He is currently serving up to about seven years in prison.
Malik Patience Smith, 19, was sentenced to two years on allegations that he pointed a gun at Baker’s friend while Austin shot Baker.
Baker’s mother, Jemel Ali Dixon, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on May 7, 2019, in U.S. District Court. Wake Forest University, among others, was named as a defendant. On Aug. 5, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles granted the university’s motion for summary judgment, meaning she ruled in the school’s favor without the need to go to trial.
Jonathon Fazzola, one of Dixon’s attorneys, filed a notice of appeal on Aug. 19 in U.S. District Court. The appeal would be heard by the 4th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. William Davis, attorney for Wake Forest University, could not immediately e reached for comment.
The university did issue a statement on the day of the decision, noting that Eagles said Baker’s death was not foreseeable and that the “general level of safety on campus was high.” The school also expressed condolences to Baker’s family and friends.