Three killed in Monday shooting at Texas A&M

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. -- A gunman opened fire on police officers near the Texas A&M University campus shortly after noon on Monday, killing at least two people, including a local constable, and wounding four others, the police said. The gunman, who was shot by officers, died after he was taken into custody.

The police identified the constable as Brian Bachmann and said he was shot after approaching the gunman's house on Fidelity Street about two blocks from campus. A 43-year-old man, Chris Northcliff, who was outside at the time, was also killed.

The gunman, who was identified as Thomas Caffall, 35, opened fire with what a witness said was an assault rifle and was then shot by the police and taken into custody. An unidentified 55-year-old woman was wounded and was in serious condition after surgery. Three College Station police officers were also wounded: Officer Justin Oehlke was shot in the calf and was in stable condition, and Officers Brad Smith and Phil Dorsett were treated at a hospital and released.

The police said that Mr. Bachmann, 41, had gone to the house to serve an eviction notice. It was unclear whether Mr. Caffall took aim at the victims or whether they were killed in the exchange of fire with officers.

Rigo Cisneros, 40, an Army medic who served a tour in Afghanistan, saw the shooting from his home across the street.

"After the fourth or fifth shot, I stuck my head out the door and could hear actual gunfire," he said by telephone. "I took cover and observed that there was an officer down."

In a video taken by Mr. Cisneros and provided to The New York Times, police officers with weapons drawn are seen moving in on a white one-story home. "Do not move, do not move!" an officer shouts at one point. "If you move, you are dead!"

The authorities and Mr. Cisneros said Mr. Caffall engaged the police with gunfire for about 30 minutes. Mr. Cisneros said Mr. Caffall seemed to be holding either an M4 or M16 assault rifle.

When the gunfire stopped, he said, he ran over and found the constable shot in the chest and another officer with less severe wounds. Mr. Caffall had been shot several times in the legs and upper torso, he said. Mr. Cisneros said he tried to administer CPR to the constable, who was immobile and had no pulse. When paramedics arrived, Mr. Cisneros said he began attending to Mr. Caffall, who had already been handcuffed.

Mr. Cisneros said that Mr. Caffall, whom he did not know, was conscious and asked for forgiveness for shooting the officers.

In Texas, constables are law enforcement officers who perform duties similar to sheriff's deputies and police officers, though they are elected to the positions and serve as bailiffs in the local justice of the peace court system.

An image posted on the Web site of a local ABC News affiliate, KTRK-TV, showed what appeared to be a black assault rifle under a brown sedan. It was not clear from the image whether the gun belonged to Mr. Caffall.

Texas A&M University issued a series of warnings on its Web site beginning around 12:30 p.m., when residents near the campus football stadium were urged to remain indoors in the area around Fidelity Street in College Station, which is about 90 miles northwest of Houston.

Barbara Murphy, 84, who lives near Fidelity Street, said she heard about six or eight gunshots around 12:30. About 10 or 15 minutes later, she said, she heard another round of shots.

"We're doing a lot of remodeling around here, but then I realized it couldn't just be a hammer," she said. "About that time, a neighbor called and said, 'Don't go outside.' "

The area where the shooting occurred is a working-class cluster of single-family clapboard homes about two blocks southeast of campus. University students rent many of the houses, and the Texas A&M logo can be seen on mailboxes and screen doors.

Campus police at the university said the shooting took place entirely off-campus and directed questions to the local police. Fall classes are scheduled to begin on Aug. 27.

On Monday afternoon, dozens of Brazos County sheriff's deputies, state troopers, police officers and paramedics converged on the streets in and around the house on Fidelity Street. More than a block away, a number of law enforcement officers formed a line and walked slowly across the front lawns of houses, apparently searching for evidence.

In the blistering Texas sun, some shielded their heads with shirts and other clothing as they stepped on grass that had turned brown and crunchy from a lack of rain.

Residents described the neighborhood as a quiet place where such violence was unheard of.

"If I had been anywhere else, I would have thought it was a gunshot," said James Densey, 62, a construction worker remodeling a nearby home. "But in this neighborhood, I assumed it was just kids out playing with some late firecrackers."

Manny Fernandez reported from College Station, and Michael Schwirtz from New York. J. David Goodman contributed reporting from New York.

nation

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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