Three people were wounded and two of them were being detained after an altercation erupted into gunfire at a Houston-area community college, officials said Tuesday.
The incident, which rekindled fears of yet another gun-related attack at a school, came during a continuing national debate over gun control.
“We know there is an ongoing discussion about guns, but we never expected to be part of it,” Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said in a nationally televised news conference.
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The Lone Star campus, about 20 miles north of downtown Houston, was closed Tuesday but will reopen Wednesday for classes, Carpenter said.
“The campus is cleared and it is safe,” Harris County Sheriff’s Maj. Armando Tello said at the same news conference.
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Officials said they were still trying to piece together what happened at the school, which has an enrollment of 19,000 students. The incident began about 12:30 p.m. in the central courtyard area in front of several buildings, including the library, officials said.
According to Tello, two men -- described as persons of interest -- began arguing and one reached into a backpack and pulled out a handgun, which went off. Students and others are not allowed to carry even legal weapons on campus, Carpenter said.
Tello said neither man had been charged; both were taken to a hospital for treatment from gunshot wounds.
Also injured was a college maintenance man, in his 50s, who was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition, Tello said. He described the victim as an “innocent bystander.”
In addition to three wounded by gunshots, a woman was taken to a hospital suffering from an unrelated condition believed to be some form of heart attack, Tello said.
Reginald Neal told KPRC-TV that his nephew, Jody Neal, 24, was one of the wounded.
“All I know he got shot three times. That's all I know,” Neal said. “He got shot in one of his arms, in the stomach and the leg.”
The shooting comes about six weeks after a gunman invaded Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults with an assault rifle. The rampage led to renewed political questions about gun control, whether to renew a ban on assault weapons and restrictions on ammunition.
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