Students evacuated Lone Star College-North Harris, near Houston, after two men shot at each other outside a campus building. Police said at least one shooter and two students were wounded. / Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle/AP
A dispute between a community college student and another person on a Texas campus ended in gunfire Tuesday, leaving three injured and sending students fleeing from a library and classrooms.
A maintenance worker was caught in the crossfire and wounded at Lone Star College North Harris campus, 20 miles north of Houston, Harris County acting Sheriff Major Armando Tello said.
The campus shooting comes little more than one month after a gunman killed 20 first- and second-graders and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. That shooting provoked demands for tougher gun control and prompted the National Rifle Association to suggest arming teachers.
The shooting Tuesday afternoon outside between the library and a classroom building shut down the campus.
Shaperia Harper, a 22-year-old studying nursing, told The Houston Chronicle she was talking on her cellphone outside when she heard six or seven "really loud" gunshots. She ran to the cafeteria.
"I just can't believe it actually happened," Harper said. "I never thought I'd be in a school shooting."
When police arrived two minutes later, they realized it was not an "active shooter incident, but an altercation between two individuals," Tello said.
"Danger has been mitigated. Situation under control," the college said on its Twitter feed.
Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said the campus is a "gun-free," but students are not checked for weapons. The college has never had an incident like this before in its 40-year history, he said.
"It's been safe for 40 years we think it's still safe," Carpenter said.
The campus planned to reopen Wednesday.
The two suspects are hospitalized, Tello said. "This is still under investigation," he said.
The maintenance man was also taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound. A fourth person, a woman, was taken to the hospital with what Tello described as a "medical condition."
Emergency workers transported four people to two area hospitals, Harris County Emergency Corps spokesman Mark Smith said. At least two had gunshot wounds, and one appeared to have had a heart attack, he said. One was in critical condition.
Two people arrived at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston by ambulance from Lone Star College, Harris Health System spokeswoman Paige Tomas said.
One person had a gunshot wound, Tomas said. She said she had not received information about the second patient. The hospital did not release either patient's condition.
Student Cody Harris, 20, said he and other students were in a classroom for psychology class when he heard gunshots. He counted eight shots. He and the other students fled.
"I was just worried about getting out," he said.
Less than a mile from the campus, public school authorities locked down four schools with 4,600 students for three hours after the shooting, said Mike Keeney, a spokesman with the Aldine Independent School District. Extra security guards were dispatched to the schools.
"You never take anything like this lightly," Keeney said.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Kevin Johnson in Washington.
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