By Calvin Palmer
A lone gunman today fired shots on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin before entering the main university library and shooting himself.
Colton Tooley, 19, a sophomore math major, fired shots from an AK-47 assault rifle near the Littlefield Fountain about 8:15 a.m., said Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Police officers chased Tooley who ran into the Perry-Castaneda Library and up the stairs to the sixth floor.
“That’s where he appeared to have shot himself, “ Acevedo said.
It is unclear how many shots were fired. Police said four shots were fired, but witnesses described eight to 10 shots in short bursts. There were also numerous reports that the gunman was wearing a black ski mask.
Student Robby Reeb said he was on his way to class when a person sprinted past him saying they had seen a man with a gun.
“I looked up and saw a man in a ski mask, wearing a suit, and carrying an assault rifle. And I called 911,” Reeb said.
Adjunct law professor Randall Wilhite said he had been driving to class when he saw students “scrambling behind wastebaskets, trees and monuments” and a young man sprinting along the street with a rifle.
“He was running right in front of me – and he shot what I thought were three more shots – not at me. In my direction, but not at me, clearly not at me,” Wilhite said.
The campus was locked down for the most of the morning as a search went on for a second gunman. It was later established that Tooley had acted alone.
The university remains closed for the day, and the library is being secured with a barricaded perimeter as a crime scene for the remainder of the day.
University and Austin police officials said the campus likely will reopen as normal tomorrow.
Tooley lived at home in a house on Western Drive in South Austin, which has been a center of activity this afternoon involving crime scene officials. The street is a cul-de-sac and has been blocked off by police.
The University of Texas at Austin was the scene of a notorious shooting incident in 1966 when student Charles Joseph Whitman killed 16 people and wounded nearly three dozen from the 28th floor of the university clock tower, before being killed by police.