Texas campus responds to third shooting this week
Texas Southern University has seen three shootings in four days, just months after the state legislature approved concealed carry on campus.
HOUSTON — Authorities pledged increased patrols Saturday at Texas Southern University following three incidents of gunfire in less than four days, including the fatal shooting of a student.
Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva identified the victim as freshman Brent Randall. Another person was injured in Friday's shooting and hospitalized. It remains unclear whether that person is a TSU student.
Two men were detained but Ms. Silva declined to say Saturday whether they're still being held. Police are searching for a third person who they believe was involved.
The gunfire that killed Mr. Randall was preceded hours earlier by another shooting near the same housing complex. No one was believed harmed in that incident but afterward the university issued a statement saying the "shooting incidents on our campus have been extremely difficult and troubling for our entire university community."
On Tuesday, university police said a shooting after a poetry slam on campus injured another man.
A growing number of campus shootings seem to be sparked by the combination of relaxed gun laws and anger, not a desire for a rampage, wrote The Christian Science Monitor's Henry Gass on Friday:
Eight states have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislators: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
... In Texas, the state senate passed a bill in May allowing for the concealed carry of guns on public college campuses. The bill, which goes into effect next August, has already proved divisive. Two opposing groups held rallies at the same time in Austin, the state capital, last week.
Critics of the bill say guns don’t belong in the classroom, while supporters – including many students who had quickly organized a counter rally – say allowing students to legally carry guns on campus can help ensure safety.
“There’s no reason why campus should be this black hole for self-defense and protecting ourselves,” College Republican President Madison Yandell told the Daily Texan. “It’s not going to be open carry where we’re, like, waving our guns around in class, using it as a threat to our professors or other students in class…. It’s a matter of self-defense.”
Administrators promised that campus security and university police will increase patrols. Silva said Houston police also will boost patrols around the campus.
Randall's death came the same day as a fatal shooting at Northern Arizona University and a non-fatal shooting at a California elementary school, and about a week after eight students and a teacher were fatally shot at a community college in Oregon.
"Like President Obama says, this is getting to be too regular," Texas Southern President John Rudley said during a Friday news conference.
He was referring to the president's Oct. 1 speech, given hours after the Umpqua Community College shooting. "We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months," said Mr. Obama. "Somehow this has become routine. This reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine."
The latest rash of shootings, combined with electoral politics, push the national gun control conversation to turn a corner, wrote the Monitor's Linda Feldman on Friday, outlining four ways that the political calculus is shifting.