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Gun used in Lone Star College shooting still missing

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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There's new information about the shooting at the Lone Star College - North Harris County campus that took place Tuesday afternoon. Investigators are still missing key pieces of the case.

They still don't have the gun used in the shooting, and now they suggest there could be a possible second suspect.

It all started with an argument, and ended with three people wounded, including the suspected shooter and an innocent maintenance worker outside the campus library Tuesday.

Carlton Berry, 22, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said, "We are still working on additional information involving a possible second suspect."

Garcia says Berry who was found with a Lone Star College student ID was on the school's north campus Tuesday afternoon when he allegedly got into an argument with another man  someone working on getting his GED.

"The victim in the shooting, Jody Neal, 25, is recovering from a gunshot to the leg and abdomen," said Sheriff Garcia. "A confrontation occurred and somebody thought in their peanut-sized brain that maybe a firearm on a campus would be a way to solve it."

Garcia says Berry fired at least 10 shots during the argument. At least one bullet hit Bobby Cliburn, 69, who works as a maintenance man with the college. Cliburn is still recovering at the hospital.

"We think that there's only one weapon, a firearm, a pistol, that was used in this case," Garcia said. "That weapon has yet to be recovered."

Sheriff Garcia says the argument happened at about 12:19pm Tuesday. Lone Star College had six armed police officers and one unarmed security guard there within a few minutes. But, according to the campus president, college police didn't approach the suspect or victims until Harris County deputies arrived a few minutes later.

Lone Star College North Campus President Steve Head explained, "When we have situations like this we are relying on the sheriff's department and other agencies, but especially the sheriff's department, to come in and assist and take control."

Head adds that attendance was down five percent Wednesday because some students were afraid to come to campus. He also said that campus officers are not prepared to deal with situations like this one, that's why they rely so heavily on the sheriff's office.

Anyone with information about the gun is asked to call Crime Stoppers or contact the Harris County Sheriff's Office. Garcia provided no further details on the possibility of a second suspect.

Earlier Wednesday:

Students, painfully aware of other recent school shootings, agree that it's difficult when you find yourself involved in a campus shooting. They returned to class today, but with some hesitancy.

"I'm not going to class probably for another couple of days," said student Bettye Mitchell. "I've never experienced anything like this."

Bettye was on the third floor of the library on Tuesday when gunfire erupted outside between the library and the academic building. When it was over, three people were injured -- two men who had been fighting, and a maintenance man, accidentally struck by gunfire. Court records have identified the worker as Bobby Cliburn, 69.

"It's still in my head," Bettye said. "It still plays, over and over, almost like a broken record."

Other students with whom we spoke are ready to return to class, but say they'll be more cautious.

"The security was there. It's just that we don't know what was going to happen," said student David Muleau.

"I'm not nervous," said student LaSonya Johnson. "I think it's very isolated."

As for Bettye, she says she'll contact her instructors by email and hope for the best.

"I'm a little too scared," she said. "Give me a couple of days. I will be back to class."

The president of Lone Star College North Harris says he has talked with Cliburn's family. He remains at Ben Taub Hospital, but his family says they expect him to be OK.

In a statement issued late Tuesday night, the Lone Star College System says all its 170 police officers and security personnel have been trained for such emergencies and the Office of Emergency Management followed contacted students via text messages, email, web, voice messages and personal announcements.

But some are questioning whetherthe alert system worked. Some students claimed they weren't notified of the shooting until more than 30 minutes after it had happened.

The Lone Star College System has an enrollment of 90,000 students and six college campuses, according to its website. Its North Harris campus is about 20 miles north of downtown Houston.
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