UPDATED Three People Shot at Lone Star College, Maintenance Worker Caught in the Crossfire, Suspect Charged
UPDATE January 28: This morning, a judge dropped the two charges against Carlton Berry. He had been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Trey Foster, the second suspect who was arrested last Friday, is still facing two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
UPDATE January 24: A second suspect has been arrested and charged in the shooting. Trey Foster, 21, was arrested in Plano Friday morning and was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Original post follows:
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A shooting has taken place at the main campus of Lone Star College in north Harris County.
Details are scant at this point, but according to other news outlets, three people were shot at the campus around 12:30 p.m. One of the people shot may be a gunman. It's also believed that another gunman got away.
At 12:52 p.m., school officials posted the followed statement on its Web site: "LSC-North Harris campus evacuation is in progress. A couple of armed suspects reported; injuries reported. Incident limited to LSC-North Harris."
At 1:40 p.m., Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia tweeted, "HCSO has an active shooter scene working at Lone Star College... Please avoid the area if possible."
According to a release by the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which has officials at the scene, details will be released during a news conference at Aldine-Westfield and Turkey Drive, which is located near the campus that's currently on lockdown.
Hair Balls has contacted the Lone Star College system for additional information. We'll update you if we hear back.
Update (2:10 p.m.): Senator Kel Seliger was watching the coverage of the Lone Star College shooting on Fox News in his Austin office and had this to say:
"It's always terrible," he says. "I assume we're going to find out that some part of it is tragic. And we're going to see what went on in Houston before we make more comments on what transpired."
Update (4:30 p.m.) The following is a statement from Attorney General Greg Abbott:
All Texas schools must be places of safety and learning. Lawless shootings on campuses will not be tolerated and should meet swift justice. Texas will do all it can to make the school environment safe for students, teachers and administrators.
Today's shooting is an example of the critical importance of school safety plans and emergency drills in all schools. Having a plan and practicing that plan can save lives when seconds count. We do know that Lone Star College submitted their safety and security plan to the Texas School Safety Center, confirming the campus had a critical incident plan in place.
I've instructed our Crime Victim Services Division to immediately make contact with the school and with families involved to offer whatever assistance we can provide.
Update (5:50 p.m.): Acting Sheriff Armando Tello (Adrian Garcia is out of town) of the Harris County Sheriff's Office and Lone Star College Chancellor Dr. Richard Carpenter addressed the media shortly after 4 p.m.
The officials weren't releasing a lot of details -- including how many weapons were involved, how many shots were discharged or what caused the gunfight -- due to an active crime scene but here's what they do know.
Acting Sheriff Armando Tello speaks to the media frenzy.
HCSO received a call at 12:51 p.m. regarding the incident and officers were at the scene at 12:53 p.m. Two people had been involved in an altercation outside by the library.
During the incident, a maintenance man in his 50s was caught in the crossfire. Paramedics rushed the man to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg. He's in stable condition.
A woman was also transported to the hospital with a medical condition. The woman, who was not hit by gunfire, appears to be a student at Lone Star College, which has been cleared and plans to reopen tomorrow for a normal school day.
The two folks of interest are also at the hospital. No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.
Dr. Richard Carpenter discusses the Lone Star College shooting.
During his media address, Carpenter acknowledged that there's a national discussion about today's incident as it relates to other school shootings such as Sandy Hook Elementary. He said that Lone Star College faculty and staff were recently trained on how to handle this type of situation.
"We're celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and this is the first incident in 40 years," Dr. Carpenter said in front of the media blitz that included reporters from the L.A. Times, Reuters and the major English and Spanish media outfits in town.
A trio of lawmakers who all have a slice of the Lone Star College District, ironically, held a news conference this afternoon to school district security.
Their idea is to give local school districts the option of creating their own crime control districts. By that, they mean voters can agree they can tax themselves to pay for additional security.
Asked whether that option might extend to colleges, Senator John Whitmire, chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said it was too early to tell. Senator Tommy Williams, chair of Senate Finance, said the state might be kicking in some funds of its own to address the school district security issue.
Update (10:30 p.m.): Tonight, HCSO issued a clarification regarding the shooting's timeline.
"After reviewing call logs, the initial 9-1-1 call received at the HCSO's Emergency Dispatch Center was at 12:19 p.m. this afternoon. The first deputy arrived at the scene 4 minutes after the information was dispatched."
Additionally, Lone Star College issued a statement about an hour ago.
The shooting was a result of an altercation between two men near the campus library, not an active shooter scenario. A college employee who was an innocent bystander was wounded. He is reported in stable condition at an area hospital. Two individuals of interest, who were also injured and hospitalized, were taken into custody by law enforcement officials.
Update (11:50 p.m.): HCSO has charged suspect Carlton Berry, 22, with aggravated assault.
In September 2009, according to a Harris County criminal public records search, the Texas-born Berry was charged with $50 to $500 misdemeanor theft. He accepted deferred adjudication and was ordered to pay $272 in fines and court fees. Berry was also sentenced to nine months probation.
In March 2011 and February 2012, Berry was nailed with misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. He entered a guilty plea in both cases.
Kimberly Reeves contributed to this report.
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