DeKalb man gets 35 years for Paine College shooting

Almost two years ago, Xavier D. Cooper was a sophomore business major at Paine College in Augusta.

Now the DeKalb County man is set to spend up to 35 years in prison for shooting another student in the head at the college's administration building. A Richmond County jury found Cooper guilty of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and carrying a weapon on school property, according to the Augusta Chronicle. All of it stemming from a May 2014 dispute with shooting victim, JaJuan Baker, who survived the attack.

The jury deliberated two hours Wednesday before sending Cooper off to serve his time for an incident that caused Paine to go on lockdown for hours and brought unflattering statewide attention to one of the nation’s oldest historically black private colleges.

During Cooper’s trial, Baker, his brother Keon Baker and their friend Carl Harvey each testified that JaJuan Baker and Cooper exchanged words in an elevator, the Chronicle reported. When it reached the third floor and the Baker brothers got out, Cooper pulled a handgun and chased JaJuan Baker down the hallway.

At the time of Cooper's arrest, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree as saying the incident stemmed from a possible dispute over drugs. In the aftermath of the shooting, Roundtree also said the shooting was related to a series of other shootings off and on campus in the days prior to the incident with Baker and Cooper.

"We don't think this is a random act," Roundtree told the AJC at the time. "We think this is a targeted shooting based on an ongoing altercation. These two individuals were involved in an altercation. We know that they had ill will toward each other."

Baker is currently enrolled at a college in North Carolina and is majoring in criminal justice, he testified during the trial. He has plans to join the military.

According to the Chronicle, Cooper apologized Wednes­day to his family, to Baker and his family, to Paine College and the community for the episode.