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College student shot on Pennsylvania university campus

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[January 21, 2014]  (Reuters)  A male college student who was shot outside a university athletic center in Pennsylvania was in critical but stable condition on Tuesday but the shooter was still at large, officials said.

The undergraduate student at Widener University was shot in a parking lot near the Schwartz Athletic Center at about 8:45 p.m. (0145 GMT) on Monday, according to officials at the private institution about 15 miles outside of Philadelphia in the city of Chester.

"All indications are that this was not a random act of violence," Widener University spokesman Dan Hanson said early on Tuesday morning, adding that police say a revolver was used in the attack and that the wounded student called police himself.

The shooting follows others at schools in Philadelphia and in New Mexico over the past week, which have added to a national debate over whether gun control regulations need to be stricter.

That debate intensified after 26 children and adult staff members were shot dead in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012.

On Tuesday, police in Chester, a city of some 34,000 residents, had secured the Widener University campus, determining that there was no active shooter but that a suspect was still at large.

The wounded student, who had not been identified, was being treated at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, a nearby hospital in the town of Upland, officials said.

The student arrived at the hospital with at least one gunshot wound and was with his family at the hospital, said hospital spokesman Grant Gegwich.

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The university, with some 6,300 undergraduate and graduate students, was founded in 1821, Hanson said. Video footage showed the area around the athletic facility largely cleared of students and vehicles. Police were searching the area, including nearby woods and beyond.

On Friday, two students were shot and wounded at a high school in northern Philadelphia, police said. In New Mexico, a 12-year-old boy in New Mexico is accused of seriously wounding two students with a shotgun last Tuesday.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; editing by W Simon)

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