One person was being detained and another sought after an argument escalated into gunfire at a Houston-area community college on Tuesday, injuring at least three people.
Barely six weeks after an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., revived the political fight over gun control, the nation on Tuesday again had to deal with reports of gunfire at an educational institution and watched televised images of students running in fear.
Rescue workers and police rushed to Lone Star College’s North Harris campus at approximately 12:30 p.m. amid reports of shots having been fired. The campus was on lockdown for at least an hour before officials began evacuating the campus.
At least three people were taken to two area hospitals, officials told reporters. One person was being detained as a person of interest, according to Harris County Sheriff's Maj. Armando Tello.
Authorities said they were looking in the surrounding woods for another person, also described as a person of interest. It was unclear if the person being sought was armed.
Although details remained confused, witnesses interviewed by local television stations said the incident began in the library area of the campus, about 20 miles north of Houston, with about 18,000 students.
Lone Star College student Brittany Mobley said: “I saw two dudes basically get into an altercation and the dude that shot, he basically got angry and started shooting the other guy,” Mobley told TV station KHOU. “A lot of people heard a lot of shots.”
Mobley said the suspect had the gun hidden in his clothes.
“Basically, I seen the dude that shot him and as soon as I heard the bullets flying and the gun being fired off, then everyone started running and it was a hint for me to start running as well,” Mobley said.
Sheriff officials told reporters that they had confirmed three injuries at the scene. The injured were taken to Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital Emergency Center and Houston Northwest Medical Center.
Cody Harris, 20, he 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 told the Associated Press. “I called my grandmother and asked her to pick me up.”
Bruce J. Martin, an assistant professor at Lone Star College, tweeted that he had heard six to eight shots downstairs in the library and had taken cover for 20 minutes.
“Most students have been evacuated,” he wrote, adding in another tweet: “2-3 people shot, blood on library floor as we were escorted out by police.”
In addition to the college, four nearby schools in the Aldine Independent School District went into lockdown, a district spokesman said.
The shooting follows the Connecticut attack where a gunman invaded an elementary school, shooting 20 children and six adults. That attack has sparked a push by the Obama administration to increase gun control by banning assault weapons and limiting the size of ammunition clips.