/2 women fatally shot, toddler wounded at Texas A&M University-Commerce residence hall – The Dallas Morning News

2 women fatally shot, toddler wounded at Texas A&M University-Commerce residence hall – The Dallas Morning News

This article will be updated when more information is available.

Two women were fatally shot and a toddler was wounded Monday at a Texas A&M University-Commerce residence hall.

The child, who is about 2 years old, was hospitalized in stable condition, campus police Chief Bryan Vaughn confirmed at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Authorities declined to answer questions at the news conference, and they did not release the victims’ names or say whether the women were students.

Police said they found the two women dead and the baby wounded after a student called them at 10:17 a.m.

In a Twitter post at 11:53 a.m., university officials told students, faculty and staff members to remain sheltered in place while the shootings at the Pride Rock residence hall were investigated.

The shelter-in-place request was lifted shortly before 1:30 p.m., and at the news conference Monday afternoon the police chief said there was not a continuing threat on campus. University police had stationed officers throughout campus, including all key gathering points.

Classes were canceled for the remainder of the day, the university said.

A resident is escorted out of the Pride Rock residence hall where two women were fatally shot and a toddler was wounded Monday at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Feb. 3, 2020 in Commerce, Texas.
A resident is escorted out of the Pride Rock residence hall where two women were fatally shot and a toddler was wounded Monday at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Feb. 3, 2020 in Commerce, Texas.(Juan Figueroa / Staff photographer)

Larry Cooper III, a freshman at the university, lives in Pride Rock, a three-story residence hall for freshmen. He said he left his room, which is on the second floor, just before the shelter-in-place was announced.

“I actually left earlier than I usually leave,” he said. “If I hadn’t left my room a few minutes earlier I would be stuck in my room right now. Anyone still on the second floor can’t leave their room.”

He said he waited in a friend’s room on the first floor of the residence hall during the shelter-in-place with a few other students.

“There’s police blocking the doorways, but other than that we’re all just kind of sitting in and waiting on the news to happen,” Cooper said.

The university said that the Rayburn Student Center was available for displaced students and that counselors were available there for anyone who needed assistance.

Darius Myers, a freshman studying nursing at A&M-Commerce, said the feeling on campus Monday wasn’t new to him.

“It’s kind of like deja vu,” he said, recalling a similar gloomy feeling cast over the campus in October, when two people were fatally shot at a party celebrating the school’s homecoming week in nearby Greenville.

Myers and two of his football teammates, Jordan Polk and Uzo Ebinama, left the Pride Rock residence hall Monday afternoon. They said they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to come back for the day while law enforcement worked inside.

Many students already gone home for the day, they said.

Law enforcement officials had cordoned off the dorm with yellow police line, and the students left through a side door, saying they weren’t allowed to use the main entrance.

Myers, Polk and Ebinama were all sleeping after getting back to the dorms from a football workout when the shooting happened, they said. None of them woke up to the sound of gunfire, though they all live on the second floor, just around the corner from where the shooting was, they said.

The university allows handguns in campus dorms, and licensed individuals may carry concealed handguns on campus, with some exceptions including the campus counseling and health centers, certain science labs and sporting events.

A student who wants to store a handgun in a dorm must provide a safe that only he or she has access to, according to the university’s policy.

The firearms policies are designed to comply with the state’s Concealed Campus Carry law, which went into effect in 2016.

A safety message is displayed outside the Pride Rock residence hall where two women were fatally shot and a toddler was wounded Monday at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Feb. 3, 2020 in Commerce, Texas.
A safety message is displayed outside the Pride Rock residence hall where two women were fatally shot and a toddler was wounded Monday at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Feb. 3, 2020 in Commerce, Texas.(Juan Figueroa / Staff photographer)