Brooklyn native Najee Ali Baker, 21, had dreams of pursuing excellence as an athlete; however, his life was tragically cut short when he was shot at a party while away at college in North Carolina last weekend. Baker was attending a sorority party early Saturday morning at Wake Forest University at what is known as The Barn, an event space on the campus. He was attending the party from his school, the neighboring historically Black Winston-Salem State University.
Reports indicate that a fight broke out at the party. It has not been determined whether Baker was involved in the fight or what the fight was about. The college athlete was shot and later died at the hospital.
Winston-Salem police said Wednesday they are looking for three men who they want to question. Police are asking residents in the area to contact police to identify the men. No arrests have been made.
“We share this deep sense of loss, and we are unified in our grief,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson and WFU President Nathan O. Hatch in a joint statement. “To see the life of a promising young man cut short in an act of unnecessary and senseless violence is confusing, infuriating and saddening to us all. In a moment, we have been tragically reminded that life is fragile.”
Students at WSSU held a vigil for Baker on the campus Wednesday night. Counseling services were available for students needing support.
Baker transferred to WSSU in North Carolina from Dean College in Massachusetts. He was a walk-on defensive lineman. Before going to college, Baker played for Abraham Lincoln High School, where his team won the championship in 2015.
The high school said in a statement, “He was a tremendous teammate, a role model and a great person. He will be missed. Our hearts go out to his family. He will never be forgotten for the leadership and legacy he left behind at Lincoln HS.”