Ashaolu on the mend

Duquense player and Toronto native Sam Ashaolu is making progress after being shot over the weekend...

Duquense player and Toronto native Sam Ashaolu is making progress after being shot over the weekend in Pittsburgh. (Toronto Sun File/Fred Thornhill)

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

With Toronto native Sam Ashaolu showing his first encouraging signs of recovery from multiple bullet wounds suffered early Sunday morning, police in Pittsburgh arrested a second man yesterday in connection with the shootings that also injured a number of Ashaolu's Duquesne teammates.

Ashaolu, the former York Memorial Collegiate star and the most seriously injured of the players, remains in critical condition with one bullet and fragments of another still lodged in his head.

Still, according to Ashaolu's mentor and former AAU coach Ro Russell, the 23-year-old showed his first major signs of progress on Tuesday after his first restful night followed two difficult nights.

"Things are looking up after (Tuesday)," Russell said.

"(Ashaolu) opened his eyes (for the first time since entering the hospital) and is responding to commands."

Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said Ashaolu is "fighting like hell," and also has squeezed teammates' hands during their frequent visits at Mercy Hospital. He also has seemed to respond to their words of encouragement.

Meanwhile, William Holmes, 18, of Penn Hills, Pa., turned himself in to police yesterday. He was to be arraigned on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and weapons-related offences for the shootings, which occurred after a school dance.

On Tuesday, police arrested Brandon Baynes, 18, also of Penn Hills, on five counts of criminal attempted homicide.

Duquesne said that Brittany Jones, the 19-year-old Penn Hills resident accused of helping a group of young men get into the Black Student Union party Saturday night, had been suspended from school. She was arrested Monday on charges of reckless endangerment, carrying a firearm without a licence and criminal conspiracy.

With Ashaolu and another teammate still lying in hospital beds, Duquesne's basketball team tried to return to normalcy yesterday. The players went to class, lifted weights and were scheduled to work out.

Stuard Baldonado, a junior forward shot in the back and left arm, had a bullet removed from a patch of muscle just below the skin in his back.

Kojo Mensah, a junior guard, was released from hospital on Tuesday night. Mensah, 21, was shot in an arm and shoulder.


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