HCSO: Man charged in shooting at Lone Star College
Updated On: Jan 22 2013 11:27:12 PM CST
A man was charged after he, a person of interest and a maintenance man were shot during a dispute at a north Harris County college Tuesday, investigators said.
Carlton Berry, 22, has been charged with aggravated assault.
Harris County sheriff's deputies said the shooting happened outside the library on the Lone Star College's North Harris campus, 2700 W. W. Thorne Drive near Aldine Westfield, at 12:19 p.m.
"We found that the incident was not an active shooter incident but was an altercation between two individuals. One of the individuals did have a student identification. During the altercation, there was a maintenance man that was injured and shot due to crossfire. Another individual at the scene was transported (to) the hospital for a medical reason. She had a medical condition," said Major Armonda Tello with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators said that medical condition was a heart attack or a stroke.
The maintenance man was shot in the leg. A Harris County Sheriff's Office source said the official report shows his name is Bobby Cliburn. During a news conference Tuesday, officials said he is expected to be OK.
Dr. Richard Carpenter of Lone Star College said campus police heard some of the shots being fired and responded immediately. One of the persons of interest had a college ID, officials said.
Ben Taub Hospital said it received two shooting victims. Reginald Neal said his nephew, Jody Neal, 24, was one of the wounded taken to Ben Taub. Deputies have not confirmed that name as their person of interest.
"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."
"He was sitting in the study room. There (were) three people on the computer and a guy walked up the stairs and opened fire on him," said Stacy Neal, Jody's sister.
Students said they were extremely afraid after the shooting.
"I was waiting for my English class to start. It was five minutes before class and all of a sudden, I heard shots fired and people started rushing in the hallway. A few students even came in to our room seeking shelter and we closed the door and we pushed the table against the door and we were hiding," student Amanda Vasquez said. "You never think this is going to happen to you."
Vasquez said the shots seem to be fired in her classroom's hallway.
"They sounded very close -- the shots. (We heard) five or six gunshots," Vasquez said. "I just ducked under the table as fast as I could and hoped for the best. I saw one of the shooters when he was already under police control."
Some students barricaded themselves in classrooms until they thought everything was safe.
"There were some people crying in the classroom," student Paul Ellis said. "A lot of people were freaking out. Some girl thought she was going to have a panic attack, but she didn't."
"I was doing my homework on the second floor and all you heard were six or seven loud gunshots. (Students) were just running away from the hallway. That's the same thing that I did. People didn't want to cross the hallway because it's open and we didn't know where the shooter was," student Daniel Flores said. "I went to the courtyard and there were people walking around like they didn't know. It wasn't organized."
"Nobody knew what to do," one student said. "I mean, we knew to hide, but that was it. We didn't know who shot who. I know one of the guys in there with me, he saw one of them shoot the other guy. But all I know is that everybody just ran."
A shelter-in-place was ordered at the college, but the campus was evacuated a short time later. The campus was deemed safe by 3:30 p.m. The campus was closed to the public for the rest of the day. Officials said the campus would reopen on Wednesday.
Several students said they were not notified about the shooting,
Ariana Munoz, 19, said she was in Algebra class when a friend texted her about 12:30 p.m. to see if she was OK. Munoz said she and the other 25 students in her class didn't receive an alert.
"Come to find out the shooting wasn't far from me, so I alerted my other class members and I told my professor, who then went and told other professors," Munoz said. "Why is it that nobody from the school came and told us? Why was it that I had to alert the faculty? Why was it that I had to tell everybody?"
Munoz said the professor went about class as if nothing had happened. About 1:10 p.m., roughly 40 minutes after the shooting, Munoz said a police officer knocked on her classroom door and told everyone to evacuate. She said the college did send out an email alert eventually, but she said it was sent after she left campus.
Carpenter said messages were sent out.
"We sent out a text blast to all of our students, emails," Carpenter said. "We have multiple forms by which we communicate with students."
Carpenter said students are able to opt-out of those alerts, but the system is designed to send notifications to every student.
A message was posted on Facebook about 1 p.m. The first posting the college made on its main Twitter account was about 2 p.m. A notice did not appear to have been posted on the North Harris campus' Twitter page at all.
A YMCA day care on the college campus was placed on lockdown. All of the children there were safe.
Aldine Independent School District officials said four nearby campuses, Dunn Elementary, Parker Intermediate, Nimitz 9th grade campus and Nimitz High, were placed on lockdown as a precaution. The lockdown was lifted about 3 p.m.
There were more than 10,000 students on the campus at the time of the shooting, said Jed Young, a school spokesman. Lone Star College's North Harris campus sits on 200 acres and opened in 1973. It offers more than 80 programs of study.
It is illegal to carry a concealed gun on a college campus in Texas.
"The policy of the board is that it's a gun-free campus," Carpenter said. "That doesn't mean that we can observe every ... we've got 19,000 students on this campus. We don't search students that come on the campus."
According to college officials, administrators have been actively talking about how they should deal with a shooter on campus. On Tuesday morning, the college president sent faculty members a link to a video that demonstrates what to do in an active shooter situation.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Days of our Lives, which was pre-empted by the shooting coverage, will air at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on KPRC Local 2.