Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gunman Dead in University of Texas Shooting

(Sept. 28) -- A man wearing a ski mask and suit and carrying an AK-47 ran through the University of Texas' Austin campus today and fired randomly before he went into the library and shot himself to death, according to police and a witness. No other injuries were reported, but police evacuated the sprawling campus as they checked reports of a second gunman.

UT Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom told reporters that witnesses gave multiple descriptions of a second gunman, leading police to set up a perimeter to confirm whether there was a second suspect. "We're very fortunate in the fact that no one else was injured, other than the lone gunman that we know of at this point," Dahlstrom told reporters today.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said police also were searching to make sure no explosives were left behind.
UT spokesman Don Hale told the Austin American-Statesman the university sent emergency text messages to students and faculty earlier today warning them to stay away from the Perry Castaneda Library and remain indoors. According to an emergency alert on the university's website, the school remains closed and classes have been canceled.

Randall Wilhite, an adjunct law professor, said he saw the gunman outside the library. "He was running down the streets firing random shots," Wilhite told CNN. "At first I didn't think it was gun shots." Wilhite said the man was 6-feet-2, white, and wore a black ski mask, a suit and a dark tie.

"I didn't think it was real until I saw bullets strike the ground," he told CNN.

Kevin Olsen, a graduate student, told the newspaper he heard bursts of gunfire and said students were walking around campus looking "kind of in awe."

The name of the suspected gunman has not been released.

In 1966, the campus was the site of a deadly shooting spree when Charles Whitman, a student, climbed the university's iconic Texas Tower and opened fire, killing 14 people and wounding more than 30 others. Austin's Mayor, Lee Leffingwell, told reporters today that people in the rest of the city "can go forward and feel safe in their homes and safe in the rest of the city of Austin."
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