Fight leads to gunfire on Texas college campus
Wed, 23 Jan 2013 12:20:59 GMT —
JUAN A. LOZANO and MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) â?? Luis Resendiz hid quietly in a small room with dozens of classmates after gunshots erupted in a courtyard on his college campus north of Houston.
There his mind quickly drifted to last month's Connecticut elementary school massacre that left 20 children dead, wondering if another gunman was on a rampage on the other side of the door.
"I didn't think something like this could happen," said Resendiz, 22, who crouched in the room for about 20 minutes before being allowed to leave. "You don't think about it happening to you."
A volley of gunshots about noon Tuesday at Lone Star College prompted a lockdown and eventual evacuation of the campus in north Houston. In the end, three people were hospitalized, including a maintenance worker caught in the crossfire and two others who authorities believe were involved in the gunfire.
Late Tuesday, Harris County sheriff's officials said Carlton Berry, 22, had been charged with aggravated assault in the shooting. Berry remained hospitalized, the officials said. The conditions of the other person involved in the shooting and maintenance worker were not available.
Authorities offered no details on what led to the shooting near an academic building and the campus library. One of the people involved had a student ID, and both people were hospitalized, said Harris County sheriff's Maj. Armando Tello. A fourth person also was taken to a hospital for a medical condition, he said.
At least 10 patrol cars clustered on the campus' west side as emergency personnel tended to the wounded and loaded them on stretchers. Students led by officers ran from the buildings where they had been hiding as authorities evacuated the campus.
Keisha Cohn, 27, was in a building about 50 feet away and began running as soon as she heard the shots.
"To stay where I was wasn't an option," said Cohen, who fled from a building that houses computers and study areas. All the students were eventually evacuated, running out of buildings as police officers led them to safety.
Mark Zaragosa said he had just come out of an EMT class when he saw two people who were injured and stopped to help them. He described the wounds as minor: One with a gunshot to the knee and another to the buttocks.
"As a matter of fact, we were carrying (one man) over to an open area and they (authorities) told us to put him down â?? with all weapons drawn â?? and they cuffed him right there," Zaragosa told KHOU-TV.
The shooting last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., heightened security concerns at campuses across the country. In Texas, several school districts have either implemented or are considering a plan to allow faculty to carry guns on campus. While guns are not allowed on college campuses, the Texas Legislature this year might debate a bill that would allow them.
Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said the campus is a gun-free zone that "has been safe for 40 years."
"We think it's still safe," he added.
The campus reopened late Tuesday afternoon, with classes expected to resume Wednesday.
Daniel Flores, 19, was in a second-floor tutoring lab with about 60 people when he heard a noise that sounded "like someone was kicking a door."
Once he and others realized the sound was gunfire, they fled to the nearby student services center, where authorities kept them for about 30 minutes before letting them go.
Cody Harris, 20, said he was in a classroom with six or seven other students waiting for a psychology class to start when he heard eight shots. He and other students looked at each other, said, "I guess we should get out of here," and fled.
"I was just worried about getting out," Harris said. "I called my grandmother and asked her to pick me up."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.