Lamar University Ex-Employee Brought Loaded Rifles, Handguns to Campus
Days prior, Nederland police were called to the man’s home twice and records described him as suicidal and homicidal.
BEAUMONT, Texas — A recently terminated Lamar University (LU) employee was arrested on weapons and driving under the influence charges Monday night after campus police found loaded guns and ammunition in his vehicle.
Around 9:15 p.m., an LU police officer noticed a man following her around campus in a white pick-up truck. The officer called for backup and the two officers spoke to the driver who was later identified as 63-year-old Mark Smith, reports WTSP.
According to the news release from the school, Smith appeared to be intoxicated, was “highly agitated” and told the officers to shoot him. Officers say he then reached toward an assault rifle on the passenger floorboard as they questioned him.
The officers were able to subdue and arrest Smith and took him to the hospital for a medical evaluation before he was taken to jail.
Officers searched Smith’s truck and found two loaded AK-47 rifles, five loaded handguns and a bag of loose ammunition “within his immediate reach.”
Smith worked as an HVAC controls mechanic at the school from May 2016 until last week when he was terminated due to “a personnel matter,” according to the university. Records show Smith had originally been suspended on March 18 before being officially terminated on March 22.
The school has since filed a criminal trespass warning against Smith and students and staff have been told to contact police if they see him on campus.
Smith is being held on four charges, including driving while intoxicated, unlawfully carrying a weapon, failure to identify and resisting arrest.
Although Smith has no prior convictions, days before his arrest, he had two separate encounters with Nederland Police, according to 12 News Now. Chief Gary Porter said officers responded to Smith’s house last Wednesday and Friday. Call records show Smith was “suicidal and homicidal.” He was taken to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas both times to be evaluated.
LU Sergeant Jarrod Samford said he was aware Nederland police had been called to Smith’s home but that no warning was given to him and his department regarding Smith.