By Juan A. Lozano And Michael Graczyk Associated Press
HOUSTON — A fight between two people led to a shooting at a Texas community college, where a maintenance man was caught in the crossfire and wounded, officials said.
One of the people involved in the fight had a student ID, and both people were wounded and hospitalized, Harris County Sheriff’s Maj. Armando Tello said. A fourth person also was taken to a hospital for a medical condition, he said.
Police are investigating the two people involved in the fight, Tello said. Authorities said they weren’t looking for any other suspects, and they recovered one handgun at the scene.
The shooting that happened before 1 p.m. sent students scurrying for safety on the Lone Star College System campus about 20 miles north of downtown Houston. Some barricaded themselves in the rooms 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.”
Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said the shooting happened outside between an academic building and the library.
He described the maintenance man as “in good shape.” The man, said to be in his mid-50s, was listed in stable condition.
The shooting came 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.
The Lone Star Campus System is a gun-free zone, Carpenter said. State officials said the school had a plan to handle a shooting or other emergency situation.
“It has been safe for 40 years,” Carpenter said. “We think it’s still safe.”
At least 10 police cars clustered on the campus’s 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 police evacuated the campus.
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 reopened after 4 p.m. Tuesday.
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.”