By Tyler Doggett and Jeffrey Boney
Special to the NNPA News Wire from the Houston Forward Times
On Friday, October 9, Texas Southern University (TSU), a historically Black university in Houston, Texas, was placed on lockdown after a shooting near the campus that claimed the life of one student and severely injured another.
The student, 18-year-old Brent Randall, freshman, died en route to the hospital after the altercation, while the second individual is still in stable condition. It is unclear whether the second individual was a student at the university.
TSU police and investigators with the Houston Police Department (HPD) have released a picture of a person of interest they believe is tied to the shooting. HPD investigators said the person of interest was wearing a George Bush High School letterman jacket, as he was seen in surveillance video, walking inside the apartment building – University Courtyard Apartments.
Two suspects who were seen running into the apartment building after the shooting were immediately detained, but HPD has since released those two individuals, while they continue to search for a third individual who was seen running through the apartments. Police say they are unclear if all the recent shootings are related.
The shooting on October 9 was the third in one week and the fourth this school year at TSU. Just days before, Jordan Schoot, was shot twice in the stomach after a poetry event outside the University museum and hospitalized.
TSU officials have indicated that they now have around-the-clock security, and with TSU President John Rudley meeting with the Board of Regents on October 16th, Hasan Jamil, special assistant to the president and over Residential Life and Housing, has released some additional strict new rules for staying on campus, including a mandatory 11 p.m. curfew for student housing; a strict visitation policy; random room checks; a sign-in and out policy for those living in campus housing; and no overnight parking.
Many of the students on campus are not happy about the changes and feel as if they are being overly punished for someone else’s actions.
The administration at TSU issued a statement saying the “shooting incidents on our campus have been extremely difficult and troubling for our entire university community.”
Student Government Association (SGA) Internal Vice President Henry Mokoko said that the primary focus of the SGA, moving forward, is to make sure that the students and the entire community are well informed about Texas gun laws and about safety.
“We need to find a way to make sure people are knowledgeable about the situation,” said Mokoko. Per Mokoko, the TSU Internal Affairs department has planned events, such as a safety forum and a collaborative event with U.S. Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee.
With the new Texas legislation allowing legal concealed handguns on campus being implemented in August 2016, many students are split about safety concerns and gun control on college campuses.
“Do I feel safe? I will this upcoming August,” said student Haley Savage. “With everything happening in the nation, and now at school, that will be the safest I’ve felt all year.”
Police continue to look for the shooter, and have indicated that they plan to charge them with murder and aggravated assault. Investigators are asking anyone who can help them solve this crime to call TSU Police Department at (713) 313-7001.