DOVER, Del. (AP) – Testimony by a Delaware State University police officer Friday contradicts assertions by school officials that a student accused of shooting two others last week was being watched when he returned to campus two days later.

Despite assertions by university officials that Loyer D. Braden, 18, was under surveillance after the Sept. 21 campus shooting, DSU police Lt. Donald Baynard, the department’s lead investigator in the case, said he didn’t know where Braden was Sunday night. Police found him in his dorm room about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Braden is accused of wounding students Nathaniel Pugh III and Shalita Middleton. Testifying at a preliminary hearing, Baynard said Pugh, who was shot in the ankle, and Middleton, who was shot in the abdomen, remain hospitalized. Middleton has not regained consciousness and is breathing with the help of a tube, he said.

University officials had sought to assure students and parents that the campus had been safe during the two days it took to arrest a suspect. University police chief James Overton has said police narrowed in on a suspect by the evening of Sept. 21, after Braden was questioned for three hours and released.

University spokesman Carlos Holmes had said investigators “had been tracking him for more than a day” when Braden came through the campus main gate.

On Friday, Holmes stood by earlier statements about the surveillance. He referred questions about the case to state prosecutors.

Overton reiterated that police had been tracking Braden but did not elaborate.

According to Baynard, investigators went to a local apartment complex Sunday night to re-interview a witness and learned that Braden had been there earlier that day watching football on television. Asked by Braden’s attorney James Liguori where Braden went after leaving the apartment, Baynard replied, “I don’t know.”

Authorities found Braden asleep early Monday in his dorm room and took him in for additional questioning.

Baynard also testified that no one from the DSU police department went to the home of Braden’s aunt in Salisbury, Md., where Braden left a car in which he was seen leaving the campus with another individual after the shooting.

Asked whether Overton’s previous assertion that Braden was under surveillance over the weekend was true, Baynard said he could not speak for the police chief.

Asked by Liguori when Braden had returned to campus, Baynard said investigators were told by Braden’s aunt that his parents drove him back Sunday afternoon to campus, more than 12 hours before he was taken into custody.

A witness reportedly told authorities Sept. 21 that Braden acknowledged firing a gun into the air to scare people. Liguori said that even if that’s true, shooting into the air doesn’t show an intent to kill or justify a charge of attempted murder.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Merrill C. Trader disagreed Friday, ruling that the prosecution had met its probable cause burden. He ordered Braden, a freshman from East Orange, N.J., bound over to Superior Court on charges of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Trader also increased Braden’s bond from $75,000 to $92,000.

Liguori suggested there was a rush to judgment to find the person responsible for the shooting. He noted that no eyewitness has identified Braden as the gunman, and a test for gunshot residue on Braden’s hands the day of the shooting was negative.

Baynard said witnesses saw three people running from the area where muzzle flashes from a gun were seen, and no incriminating evidence was found in Braden’s dorm room or in the car he drove to his aunt’s house.

AP-ES-09-28-07 1753EDT

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