Students take shelter after multiple people shot at Houston College
POSTED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 1:15pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 3:48pm
Students ducked under desks and ran for cover during a shooting at a community college campus in Texas on Tuesday.
At least three people were injured in the shooting at the North Harris Campus of Lone Star College in Houston, including two students who were apparently caught in crossfire, a school spokesman said.
Witnesses told CNN affiliates that at least one gunman opened fire after an altercation between two people.
Jed Young, a school spokesman, said officials believe there were two shooters.
One of the shooters was among the wounded and is in custody, he said. The other shooter fled the campus, he said.
Authorities were searching for a suspect in a wooded area near the school, a law enforcement source said.
"I heard about six shots, and kids started rushing down the hallway and a few even came into our class ... They were just shouting. I couldn't hear anything," said Amanda Vasquez, a freshman who was in English class when the shooting erupted. "For me, I was just trying to get under a table, get into the back corner of the room ... and I called my mom just because I needed her to know that I was OK."
Lone Star College student Brittany Mobley told CNN affiliate KHOU that she saw the shooting.
"I saw two dudes basically get into an altercation and ... the dude that shot, he basically got angry and, you know, started shooting the other guy," she said. "A lot of people heard a lot of shots."
A fourth person at the college suffered a heart attack during the shooting, according to a federal law enforcement official who received reports from the scene. Reports indicate the shooting occurred at the school's library, the official said.
One suspect is in custody, Harris County Sheriff's Office spokesman Thomas Gilliland said in a written statement. "Their role in this incident is under investigation."
There were more than 10,000 students on the campus at the time of the shooting, Young said. The campus was evacuated and closed for the remainder of the day, according to a post on the school's website.
"I'm still hoping that all of my friends are OK," said Vasquez, who took to Twitter during the shooting to warn students away from the area. "I didn't really see any of my friends afterward. I was just trying to get to my parents."
Police and emergency responders swarmed an entrance to the campus, aerial video from KPRC showed.
Medical personnel were seen treating at least two people and moving them to ambulances. One person appeared to be handcuffed to a stretcher. Students were jogging away from some buildings, with their hands up in the air, presumably in response to police instruction.
"I heard no less than five shots, and I just ran," one student told CNN affiliate KTRK. "My heart was pounding. I was praying I wouldn't hear anymore shots. I was with a bunch of other people running and someone yelled out, 'don't push!' People were crying, I had tears in my eyes."
Another witness told KTRK he saw blood on the ground and someone shot in the leg.
"Beside him, there was one guy in handcuffs," he said.
"I just heard somebody screaming, and then after that, I heard the shots," another student told KPRC.
A spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the governor's office was monitoring the situation.
"His thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted," spokesman Josh Havens said.
The Lone Star College system is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas, according to its website.