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Brandon Benjamin, Full Sail University Student, Gunned Down While Trying To Protect Others At A Party

09/12/2012 02:23 pm ET

A college student in Florida was shot and killed while trying to protect high school students leaving a party, according to witnesses.

As police tried to broke up a party at a student housing complex called The Gatherings shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday, a man hung out the window of a pickup and began to shoot into the air with a pump-action shotgun, the Orlando Sentinel reports. People screamed and dove to the ground for cover. When Brandon Benjamin, a Full Sail University graduate student, approached the shooter and yelled at him to stop, the man in the pickup truck opened fire on him.

"I saw my friend stumble backward to the ground," a witness told the Sentinel. "I'm not sure how many times he was shot, but his chest was covered in birdshot pellets. It was just cold-blooded."

Charles Dessus, 18, was arrested Tuesday and charged with first degree murder. A judge denied bond for Dessus. Deputies said Dessus and Benjamin did not know each other, CF News 13 reports.

Authorities credit a cell phone video with helping lead to arrest of Dessus.

"You can see clearly in that very powerful video that the suspect fires in the air, then a short time later, and our hearts go out to the victim and his family,” Orange County Public Information Officer Jane Watrel told reporters.

Benjamin moved to Orlando to further his music career after getting his undergraduate degree from East Carolina University. He immersed himself in the hip-hop community there, composing music and beats for more than two dozen artists as DJ Ben-Jammin, according to the Sentinel.

This is not the first shooting at The Gatherings, a housing complex known for hosting large parties of mostly University of Central Florida students.

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