By Zach Winn · October 12, 2015
An October 9 shooting at Texas Southern University resulted in the death of a student and has the campus community shaken after a recent string of gun violence.
Brent Randall, an 18-year-old freshman at the university, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital and a second victim is recovering after being shot twice in the upper torso, according to abc13.com.
The victims were outside the University Courtyard Apartment Complex, where almost all residents are freshman, when they got into an argument with three men around 11:30 a.m. on Friday. After shots were fired, the campus went into lockdown as witnesses told police the suspects ran into the apartment complex. Houston police searched the complex and detained two people, but one suspect is believed to have escaped through a side entrance of the building. Police continue to look for the third suspect, who is described as a black male between 22 and 25 years old and 180 to 190 pounds. The suspect has dreadlocks and wore a black shirt and black pants on the day of the incident.
The shooting followed three other incidents this semester where a gun was fired on the university’s campus, two of which occurred in the last week.
Less than 12 hours before Friday’s shooting, another shooting occurred in the same area. A victim suffered minor injuries but the suspect was able to get away. Police have not said whether or not the two shootings are related.
Earlier in the week, on October 6, a man was shot on a campus path known as the “Tiger Walk” around 10 p.m. TSU police are looking for the suspect in that incident, identified as former student Darios Tramain Clayton Scott. Scott, 19, was enrolled at TSU in the 2013-2014 academic year and was participating in a poetry event on campus that night, according to another abc13.com news story.
The University Courtyard Apartment Complex where Friday’s shootings occurred was also the scene of an incident involving a gun on August 27, just as classes were beginning. In that case a man fired his gun multiple times in the complex parking lot, killing student LaKeytric Quinn and wounding another student. Both the TSU Police Department and the Houston Police Department are investigating that incident.
TSUPD released a statement October 12 saying it plans to increase its presence on campus and “will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies across the city of Houston.” TSU is also implementing a series of new policies to increase campus security. The new policies include the following:
- TSU instituted an 11 p.m. curfew in all student housing and dorms;
- Increased security by adding three patrol shifts to student housing and dorms;
- Contracted with an outside security company to assist the campus and area for around-the-clock security;
- Instituted a mandatory sign-in and sign-out policy in campus housing;
- Authorized random room checks for security purposes;
- Reemphasized the University’s Zero Tolerance policy; those breaking the rules will be expelled immediately;
- Approved Apartment Parking lot entrance revisions;
- Authorized a review and revisions of the Campus surveillance system.
TSU police officers are armed, commissioned peace officers with arrest powers. TSUPD works with local law enforcement agencies on investigations involving TSU community members, according to the TSU website.
As the shooting investigations continue, students have expressed concern for their safety and are asking university officials to improve campus security.
TSU President John Rudley expressed sympathy for the victims’ families and criticized the “campus carry” bill passed in Texas this year, which allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapon over some areas of public college campuses. The law doesn’t go into effect until next August and you must be 21 to qualify for a concealed carry permit in Texas, so most college students will not apply.
“Too many guns are accessible to students and to people in general in our community,” Rudley said. “I mean, we have guns everywhere… I don’t want to be in a position that we have to explain why our students are dying.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the campus carry bill at a gun range June 13 despite public opposition from top university officials in the state. Under the bill, college presidents can designate “gun free zones” on campus but can’t ban handguns across the entire campus.
The university will hold a Campus Carry Forum at 7 p.m. October 14.