A maintenance worker was wounded in the crossfire during a shooting at a Texas community college on Tuesday, school and police officials say.
The shooting on Lone Star College's North Harris campus began when an altercation involving two individuals escalated shortly before 1 p.m. local time, according to police. The maintenance worker suffered multiple gunshot wounds and is listed in serious condition. A second victim, thought to be a student, suffered an apparent heart attack during the incident. Both victims were conscious when they arrived at the hospital, officials said.
One of the suspects was taken into custody at the scene, while a second fled the campus on foot. According to a Harris County Sheriff's Maj. Armando Tello, five law enforcement agencies searched a wooded area near the school, where the second suspect was taken into custody. Both suspects, whose names were not released, were also wounded. Charges have yet to be filed.
"We do know a handgun was involved," Tello said, adding that at least one of the suspects was carrying a student ID.
According to Lone Star College chancellor Richard Carpenter, the shooting occurred between an academic building and the library on the campus, located 20 miles north of downtown Houston.
An alert posted on the school's website shortly before 1 p.m. warned students to take shelter. "LSC-North Harris is locked down," the alert read. "Students, faculty and staff are advised to take immediate shelter where you are. Do not enter the campus until notified further." Four nearby schools were placed on precautionary lockdown.
[Slideshow: Images from scene of the shooting]
Aerial footage showed SWAT team members evacuating students from several buildings on the campus as ATF, FBI and local police searched the wooded area.
In interviews with local media outlets, students described a chaotic scene. A female student told KTRK-TV she heard five shots fired in an area between the library and the cafeteria. Other students said they heard gunshots when they were in cafeteria.
"I was just sitting in my room academic building, room 163 when I heard gun shots," Twitter user @Amandaplease223 wrote. "Rapid shots. In the hallway."
The Lone Star College system has a total enrollment of more than 90,000 students across six campuses, according to its website. About 10,000 people attend classes at Lone Star College-North Harris.
The shooting comes a little more than five weeks after 26 people—including 20 children—were killed when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., sparking a national debate on gun control.
Guns are not allowed to be carried on college campuses in Texas. But earlier this week, Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell introduced legislation that would allow students to carry concealed weapons "on university property for personal protection."
According to the school's website, Lone Star College prohibits "knowingly, intentionally or recklessly" setting foot on school property with a firearm.
The website also includes an extensive section on what to do in an active shooter situation. It reads in part:
If they do start shooting people, you need to make a choice: stay still and hope they do not shoot you, run for an exit while zigzagging, or attack the shooter.
If you chose to run, a zigzagging moving target is much harder to hit than a straight runner.
Playing dead may also be a consideration.
It is not a recommendation to attack the shooter, but remember that you have a choice to fight when there are no other options.
The last thing that the shooter will expect is to be attacked by you.
- Politics & Government