Gunman commits suicide at University of Texas


A man wearing a ski mask and carrying an assault rifle apparently killed himself in the library of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas earlier today.

The university was placed under lockdown and all classes were canceled as a result of the incident. Nobody else was hurt, but police are still looking for a possible second gunman. Art Acevedo, the chief of Austin police, said that officials are also considering the possibility of explosives left by the suspect. Armored vehicles were seen moving around the campus in response to the event, as well as SWAT teams, bomb-sniffing dogs, and police helicopters. An ambulance was seen around 9:00 a.m. CDT (1400 UTC) at the University of Texas’ Perry-Castaneda library.

The Perry-Castaneda Library, where the gunman took his own life

The school’s website included a notice this morning, which read: “The person involved in this morning’s shooting on campus has been confirmed dead on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Law enforcement are searching for a second suspect. If you are off campus, STAY AWAY. If you are on campus, lock doors, do not leave your building.” The gunman was reportedly killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and no shots had been fired by law enforcement officials.

The shooter has not yet been identified, and the reason behind the incident is not yet known. Witnesses described the man as wearing a dark suit and ski mask, and carrying an assault rifle. Randall Wilhite, a professor at the university, said that he heard gunshots while going to class and saw the suspect heading toward the library just after 8:00 a.m. CDT (1300 UTC). The gunman appeared to be firing shots randomly. “When I pulled up in my car, he stood right in front of me and didn’t stop running but turned in my direction, fired three shots into the ground to the left of my car and kept running,” said Wilhite. The gunman had the chance to shoot students, added Wilhite, but he did not appear to be targeting them.

The school, which has around 50,000 students, sent out an alert around that time warning students to stay where they were. Robby Reeb, a senior at the school, said that “a guy sprinted past me screaming, ‘There’s a guy 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.”

Police said that the gun used in the shooting was an AK-47, and that they were examining two different crime scenes: where the shots were fired outside, and where the gunman was found dead in the library. Police would not say whether he was attending the university. Chief Acevado said that there were “reports of a second suspect that was wearing a beanie with a long rifle, wearing blue jeans and a black top” that “may or may not be a white male.”

Several hours after the lockdown began, police allowed students to leave the university’s campus, although nobody is still allowed to enter.

The school was also the site of a shooting spree on August 1, 1966, in which university student Charles Whitman fatally shot fourteen to sixteen people and wounded another 32 before being himself killed by law enforcement authorities; reports of the exact death toll are inconsistent. Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, shot students from the observation platform of the school’s tower. That event was the deadliest school shooting in the United States until the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

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