Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Developing Story: Shooting on University of Texas Campus

Source: Stateman.com (Austin, Texas)

Police on scene of shooting on UT campus

A gunman who fired several shots on the University of Texas campus in the Perry-Castaneda Library is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, and police are looking for a possible second suspect, officials say.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed that the shooter is dead, but UT continues to be closed and locked down, and people are urged to stay out of the area. Classes are canceled for the day, officials said in an e-mail alert.
Officials say it appears there are no other injuries. UT spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said witnesses had reported that the man was armed with an automatic weapon.
“The shooter is dead on the sixth floor of Perry-Castaneda Library, said Don Hale, a UT spokesman. “No identification. Apparently took his own life.”
“We don’t have any report of anybody getting shot at this point,” Hale said. Officials at University Medical Center Brackenridge have said they have not received any patients.
“It’s not clear yet” if there is a second suspect, Hale said shortly after 9 a.m., adding that the university’s advice to stay indoors and keep doors locked remains in force.
Police officials raised the possibility of a second gunman because they had received different descriptions of the gunman by witnesses.
It was unclear how many shots were fired, but witnesses described eight to 10 shots in short bursts.
There were numerous reports that the gunman was wearing a black ski mask.
KVUE talked to UT student Andrew McWaters who said he saw the shooter near Dobie Mall and heard four gunshots followed by two more. He said the gunman was wearing a black ski mask, smiling and waving the gun.
The area around 21st Street and Speedway is aswarm with law enforcement, SWAT vehicles, two heliopters circling overhead, officers from Austin Police, UT and the Department of Public Safety. A battering ram was also seen.
Hale said university officials at 8:23 a.m. alerted students, faculty members and staff members by text message, outdoor loudspeakers and an online posting to stay indoors.
“That seems to be working pretty well,” Hale said of that advice.
Meanwhile, 50 to 75 students ignored the lockdown, standing outside Jester Hall taking pictures with their cell phones or calling or texting their parents.
A second e-mail alert from UT officials said: “Armed subject last seen at Perry Casteneda Library and UTC. Shelter in place. UTPD responding.”
All organized classes for today are canceled, and the campus remains closed, an alert from UT officials said.
Emergency sirens began going off about 8:30 a.m.
Click here to read eye-witness accounts of the shooting
Alicia Dietrich, public affairs assistant with the Harry Ransom Center, which is down the street from the library, said she heard the shots as she was parking her bike.
“I didn’t even know for sure that it was gunshots,” Dietrich said at 8:47 a.m. “The sirens went off about five to 10 minutes ago. The building has been locked down and I don’t think they’re letting anybody in or out.”
Kevin Olsen, a graduate student at the University of Texas, said he was walking by the Dobie dorm about 8:15 a.m. when he heard about eight to 10 shots in short bursts. He said other people walking to class also heard shots and were looking around “kind of in awe.”
A UT facilities worker told KLBJ-AM that he heard at least 10 gunshots but saw nobody get hit.
Click here to see more photos from the scene
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