September 28, 2010 by Post Team
Police ended their search for a possible second suspect in the early afternoon, saying authorities believed that the gunman was a student in college and had acted alone. No other injuries were reported.
The campus of nearly 50,000 students – of which the clock tower was the site of one of the disturbances of the nation’s deadliest shooting four decades ago – has been the blockade, while officers with bomb-sniffing dogs conducted a manhunt building by building.
Campus police spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said a man fired an automatic weapon on the sixth floor of the Perry-Casta?eda Library, then committed suicide. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the weapon was an AK-47.
Acevedo said police were investigating what he described as a crime scene seconds out of the library, which also fired shots.
Campus Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom said officials later ruled out a second shooter, which explains the initial confusion arose because the gunman was shot in several locations. He said the suspect was wearing dark clothing and a ski mask.
Randall Wilhite, associate professor of law at the university, said he was heading to class when he saw that “students begin fighting behind bins, trees and monuments”, then a young man carrying an assault rifle, running down the street.
“He was running right in front of me … and shot what I thought were three more shots … not me at. In my address, but not me, clearly not me,” Wilhite said.
The professor said the attacker was able to shoot several students and Wilhite, but did not.
The university canceled classes for the day as police officers patrolling the campus with the dogs in search of suspects and explosives. Police officers and the university locked the campus for several hours and later issued an all clear.
The university sent a notice on its website for emergency information stressing that the school remained closed and the area around the Perry-Casta?eda Library was still an active crime scene.
Jennifer Scalora works on revenue of about 100 yards from the library. She said the campus – one of the largest in the country – was quiet and empty except for police, SWAT teams and helicopters.
“The students did their part, cleaned the streets, cleared the ground in a very fast,” said Acevedo.
Tuesday’s shooting was not the first in school.
On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the observation deck of the 28th floor in the UT clock tower in the center of campus and started shooting at people below. Killed 16 people and injured dozens nearly three before police killed him about 90 minutes after the siege began.
Perry-Casta?eda Library is one of several in the university and is one of the most popular undergraduate libraries.
Student Joshua Barajas, 23, said he usually is in the library in the morning, but was delayed on Tuesday when he made a rare pit stop for coffee.
“These decisions mundane little could save your life If I had not stopped for coffee -. And never stop because it’s coffee and 4 – that could have been in that building,” said Barajas. “It’s creepy. I can not even think about it.”
Associated Press writers April Castro and Jim Vertuno Austin, Ramit Plushnick-Masti in Houston and Diana Heidgerd in Dallas contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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