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Lone Star College officials grateful that shooting did not escalate

January 23, 2013|By Matt Pearce | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • Lone Star College freshman Sheketa Taylor hugs her father Judson Gimblin after they found each other on the Lone Star Campus following Tuesday's shooting.
Lone Star College freshman Sheketa Taylor hugs her father Judson Gimblin… (Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images )

As normality returned to a Houston-area community college Wednesday the day after a campus shooting that injured three, officials expressed relief that the violence did not escalate into the kind of mass-casualty rampage that has horrified the nation in past months.

The initial shock that gripped the campus during a lockdown and concern over the injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting gave way to an almost palpable sense of gratitude Wednesday that the Lone Star College's North Harris campus did not become another "active shooter" scenario. Officials have determined that the shooting started because of an argument.

"A shooting on a campus, in which three people were hit by gunfire, is bad enough," the Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a Tuesday post on its Facebook account. "But we are grateful that this worrisome incident at Lone Star College today (North Harris campus) did not escalate into the kind of shocking event we saw at Newtown, CT."

Officials so far have charged Carlton Berry, 22, with aggravated assault. He and the other man involved in the argument remained in the hospital Wednesday, officials said.

It remained unclear exactly how the shooting transpired and how both men came to be shot; a spokeswoman for the Harris County Sheriff's Office declined to provide further details Wednesday morning as the investigation continued.

A maintenance man in his mid-50s was shot in his leg, and a fourth victim, woman with a student ID, was hospitalized due to an undisclosed medical condition following the shooting. Their names and medical conditions have not been released.

The public debate over Newtown, in which public officials have debated how to prevent violence at schools, has resonated with Lone Star officials.

"We know there is significant national dialog regarding the unfortunate frequency of shootings on public school or college campuses," Jed T. Young, a Lone Star college spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Though we never expected to be a part of that discussion, we hope that there are always things that can be learned and our protocols will be evaluated regarding the best way to protect students and employees."

Guns are not allowed on the 19,000-student North Harris campus of the Lone Star college system, which has which has 90,000 students and six campuses.

The sheriff's office said it would release more information at 3:30 p.m. CST Wednesday.

[For the record, 12:58 p.m. Jan. 23: An earlier version of this post said the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Lone Star college system made their statements on Wednesday; actually, those statements were issued Tuesday.]

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