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Texas college shooting: 'He has a gun! He has a gun!'

January 22, 2013|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

HOUSTON — In an all-too-familiar scenario, some students did not recognize the sounds they heard as gunfire. The latest shooting occurred Tuesday at Lone Star College, when an argument led to gunfire that left three wounded.

Daniel Flores, 19, was doing homework in the second floor of the academic building when he heard six or seven loud pops.

“I thought it was construction,” he said. “Then people started running, and I knew it had to be a shooting.”

PHOTOS: Lone Star College shooting

Flores, who is studying business, called his mother to alert her and say he was OK. Then he and about 60 others bolted into a hallway and fled outside, coming to a courtyard that separated two buildings. But crossing the courtyard would mean being in the open.

“Nobody wanted to cross it,” Flores said. “You could see campus police with hands on their holsters.”

Eventually, the students were hustled into the student services center, where they stayed for about 45 minutes until they were told it was safe to leave.

Joshua Flores, no relation to Daniel, also heard the sounds when gunfire broke out about 12:30 p.m. At first he thought the noise was firecrackers.

Then Joshua Flores, 21, saw people running and someone shouted, “He has a gun! He has a gun!”

Joshua Flores sought shelter and later saw people tending to a maintenance worker, a bystander, who had been wounded in the leg. They were trying to stop the bleeding with a tourniquet.

TIMELINE: U.S. mass shootings 

Jeffy Westbrook heard the shots too — barely.

Westbrook, 20, an electrical engineering major, was near the cafeteria, listening to music on headphones.

“I thought I heard a loud banging in my headphones, and some lady ran up to me and said, 'Run away, there’s a shooting!' ” She shook him and Westbrook fled, with so many others, to the student center.

Westbrook, Daniel Flores and Joshua Flores recounted the day’s events while at the college bookstore near campus. Many students and staff assembled there to meet friends and family.

Daniel Flores’ mother, Erika Flores, had rushed to the college after he son called her and said she got there in time to see police restraining a man on the ground. One officer put his foot on the man’s head. She also saw paramedics working on a man on a stretcher.

“I don’t want my son to come back here anymore,” she said. “What I don’t understand is the kind of security they have. They have signs everywhere saying ‘no guns,’ but can you just walk in there and start shooting? It just goes to show no one is safe, whether it’s an elementary school or a college. I just pray for the ones that were injured.”

She added: “This shows why students shouldn’t carry guns. There should be more detectors.”

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molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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