Oklahoma Fraternity Hosts Philanthropy to Benefit Suicide Prevention Weeks After Shooting


Phi Gamma Delta fraternity members watch a game of Knocker Ball at their philanthropy, Phifa 17, benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

William Soule


University of Oklahoma fraternity Phi Gamma Delta hosted a philanthropy to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention following an incident where another Oklahoma student fired shots at their house before turning the gun on himself.

On March 22, the Norman Police Department responded to a call at 11 pm that a truck had crashed into the back fence of Phi Gamma Delta where the suspect had fired two shots at the house and aimed the gun at members of the fraternity before fleeing the scene. He was later found with an apparent self-inflicted gun-shot wound in a neighborhood about 100 yards away.

Jack Owen, Philanthropy Chair for Phi Gamma Delta, was not at the house when the incident occurred and said he was in disbelief when he heard what happened.

“This can’t be real,” Owen said he thought at the time. “I get texts that somebody shot at FIJI this isn’t right. There’s no way.”

Following the traumatic event, it only took a day for the house to decide to do some good.

“I woke up the next morning and our president had texted me and he said like hey I know normally we donate to Habitat for Humanity but hey let’s do something in light of this,” Owen said. “Let’s raise some money to bring awareness to it.”

The philanthropy, called Phifa 17, encouraged members of other fraternities to pay $30 to register a team for a knocker ball tournament and sold tickets to the event for $5. The proceeds went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“The money is great but bringing awareness for something like this is really the biggest, most useful part of it all,” said Owen. “I think that in the end that helps just as much as money.”