28-year-old shot, killed near campus likely not a UK student

Ambulance flash on the corner of Woodland Avenue and Columbia after reports of shots fired on Saturday. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff

Will Wright

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About a year after UK student Jonathan Krueger was shot and killed near campus, another person was shot dead — this time just blocks away from the W.T. Young Library.

James Nathaniel Gordon, a 28-year-old who was not a UK student, died of a gunshot wound at UK Chandler Hospital after being shot near the corner of Woodland Avenue and Columbia Avenue at about 2:18 a.m. Saturday.

Gordon was walking with an unidentified 18-year-old who was shot in the shoulder.

Lexington Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said detectives think the shooting was not random, unlike the robbery in which Krueger was killed.

Gordon’s Facebook profile said he is from Clarkson, Kentucky, and studied at Spencerian College in Lexington. He lived in Lexington, according to a police press release. 

Within the past year, there have been at least five shootings in student neighborhoods or in student-occupied apartment buildings, four of which included fatalities.

Saturday’s shooting happened about a block away from the Woodland Glen residence halls, which house more than 2,000 students.

Public health sophomore Megan McCarthy and art education sophomore Melanie Schoepf, roommates who live on the 400 block of Woodland Avenue, said this shooting was the first time they felt afraid for their safety on campus.

When she saw police cars driving to the scene and got the UK Alert, McCarthy locked their doors and windows because she did not know if the shooter would be looking for a place to hide.

“I’ve lived in Lexington all my life and have never felt really scared, but now I’m going to definitely be more cautious,” McCarthy said. “You never think about that happening here.”

Schoepf said those few blocks of Woodland are well-traveled by students because of the residence halls, the nearby fraternity and sorority houses, and all the other houses that are rented out by students. 

At 2:18 a.m., a Lexington police officer heard gunfire in the 500 block of Woodland Avenue. Police found two people shot near an apartment building, one with a non-life-threatening injury to the upper body, according to Lexington Police Lt. Jonathan Bastian. 

Both UK Police and Lexington Police responded to the scene, but Lexington Police is handling the investigation. Police made no arrests as of press time.

In January, two people were shot in the mostly student-occupied neighborhood on University Avenue. One of those two died in the shooting, but neither were UK students.

In December, a UK student was shot in his apartment at University Trails on Red Mile Road. That student survived what he described as a robbery.  

About a week before the University Avenue shooting, a nonstudent was shot at University Trails during an argument, according to police records.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said UK Police will continue to monitor Woodland Avenue as they normally do.

Bastian said violent crime is uncommon near campus. Most of the crime, he said, is property crime.

Police ask anyone with information about Saturday’s shooting to call the Lexington Police Department at 859-258-3600 or Bluegrass Crime Stoppers at 859-253-2020. Information may also be submitted online at http://bluegrasscrimestoppers.com.