The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

January 22, 2013

Update: Texas community college shooting leaves 3 wounded

HOUSTON — Update:  A shooting at a Texas community college wounded three people Tuesday and sent some students fleeing for safety while others with medical training helped tend the wounded.

Harris County Sheriff’s Maj. Armando Tello said authorities had detained a person of interest.

Authorities also thought there could be a second shooter, according to a law enforcement official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing case.

Students said they were studying or waiting for classes to start when they heard gunshots about 12:30 p.m. on the Lone Star College System campus about 20 miles north of downtown Houston. Some barricaded themselves in the room they were in, while others fled to nearby buildings.

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. Officers had not yet arrived, he said.

“The two people that I took care of had just minor injuries,” Zaragosa told KHOU. “One gentleman had a gunshot to the knee and the (other) actually had an entry wound to the lower buttocks area.”

The college’s official Twitter feed said the shooting was between two people. Tello said three people were injured, but he did not provide any details about them, such as whether they were students or included the person who was arrested.

Mark Smith, spokesman for the Harris County Emergency Corps, said three people were taken to two hospitals. He said at least two had gunshot wounds, and one appeared to have heart problems related to the shooting. He said one was in critical condition.

Smith said previously that four people had been taken to hospitals.

Reginald Neal told KPRC-TV that his nephew, Jody Neal, 24, was one of the wounded taken to Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital Emergency Center.

“All I know he got shot three times. That’s all I know,” Reginald Neal said. “He got shot in one of his arms, in the stomach and the leg.”

The shooting comes one month after a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and heightening 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. Guns are not allowed on college campuses, but the Texas Legislature this year may debate a bill that would allow them.

At least 10 police cars clustered on the campus’ west side soon after the shooting. Emergency personnel tended to people on stretchers and loaded them into ambulances, while officers led students from the buildings where they sought shelter.

Keisha Cohn, 27, who also is studying to be a paramedic, said she was inside a building about 50 feet away from where the shots were fired. She heard “no less than five” shots and started running.

She fled to the campus learning center, which houses computers and study areas. Eventually, a deputy showed up and escorted people out, she said. Like many students, she ended up leaving her car on the campus, which was evacuated and closed for the day.

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 about 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.”

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