At about 12:20 p.m. on Jan. 22, approximately 10 shots were fired at LoneStar College in Houston. The violence erupted after an alleged verbalaltercation between a student and another man and ended with three peoplewounded.
The incident, which sent dozens of students running for cover, occurredin a small courtyard between the library and the Academic Building.
According to USA Today, approximately 10,000 students were on campus atthe time. The school was evacuated and classes were canceled until thefollowing morning.
Police arrested one of the wounded, 22-year-old Carlton Berry, as a suspectthe day of the shooting. However, Berry was released on Monday, Jan. 28 fromHarris County jail after both counts of aggravated assault were dropped.
As he left the jail on crutches, Berry declined to answer any questionsregarding his arrest and subsequent release.
At a news conference following Berry’s release, Harris County SheriffAdrian Garcia maintained that his arrest was justified in light of the initialaccounts of the shooting.
“Two people who were shot at Lone Star Community College said right afterthe shooting that the shooter was Carlton Berry,” Garcia said. “Itwas those statements and those witnesses that met our ‘probable cause,’ and thecharges were accepted by the district attorney’s office.”
Both Lone Star student Jody Neal, 25, and maintenance worker BobbyCliburn, 55, were wounded as they stood nearby when the incident occurred.
According to the Huffington Post, all three are expected to recover fromtheir injuries.
Suspect Trey Foster was arrested and charged with two counts ofaggravated assault on Friday, Jan. 25. Officials said that Foster was carryinga semiautomatic pistol when he was arrested that morning in a Dallas-areasuburb.
Foster told officers that he has a concealed handgun license (CHL) andthat the firearm was acquired legally. After further investigation, it wasdetermined that the .40 caliber pistol Foster was carrying was in factpurchased legally at Gander Mountain, a national sporting goods store,according to the Houston Chronicle.
Following Foster’s arraignment, community activist Quanell X told theHouston Chronicle that the accused had completed the course and purchased thefirearm after he was shot in the face two years ago. He also stated that Fosterhad sent the CHL application to state officials, but it was stalled due to thesuspect’s past arrests.
Harris County Assistant District Attorney Alison Baimbridge stated, “Itwas unclear Monday whether Foster’s misdemeanor arrests for possession of brassknuckles and resisting arrest would have kept him from buying the gun orobtaining a concealed handgun license. In general, suspects convicted ofmisdemeanors can own firearms, but they cannot get a CHL.”
According to an affidavit, Berry and Foster were on the north Houston campusaround noon on Tuesday when Neal bumped into Foster and an argument ensued.They parted ways, but 30 minutes later, Berry and Foster saw Neal again.
Prosecutor Baimbridge stated, “Mr. Neal initially identifies Mr.Berry as the person who actually shot (him). After further investigation, itwas determined that Mr. Neal identified Mr. Berry as being involved in theshooting but that the shot that actually hit Mr. Neal was shot by the secondsuspect.”
Foster was arraigned on the morning of the 28th by state District JudgeMarc Carter. The bail was set at $100,000.
Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said thatthe campus is “gun-free,” but not every student is screened for carrying weapons.
This incident was the first in the college’s 40-year history, Carpentersaid.
“I can tell you that everyone is working as hard as they can to gatherinformation every day, as information comes to us, we try to make the rightdecision in the interest of justice,” Prosecutor Baimbridge said in referenceto the dropped charges. “The right decision today, in the interest ofjustice, is to dismiss those cases.”
Following Foster’s arraignment, prosecutors stated that in order todetermine the exact details of the event, the investigation willcontinue.