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In the News: Attempted UT Shooting Causes A Stir

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John Stang – News Editor

On Tuesday, Sept. 28 a 19-year-old math major by the name of Colton Tooley ran through the campus of the University of Texas wearing a ski mask and a dark suit carrying an AK-47. Tooley was attempting a college shooting before morning classes began. 

After firing several rounds of ammunition, which did not kill or hurt anyone, Tooley took his own life in the library.  The shooting comes at time when UT is deciding whether to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. 

“I was walking to class, a little late.” said Robby Reed ’11 of UT, told ABC News. “I was walking from the business school, and 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.”

No motive has been determined by police as to why Tooley committed the shooting.  ABC News also explained that Tooley lived in a house about 10 miles from UT.  The shooting occurred around 8 a.m. and upon hearing reports of the incident, the school issued a lockdown that expired at noon on that day.  Police also believe that there might be a second suspect that was part of the shooting, although that has not been proven conclusively.

UT was also the sight of another school shooting that took place in 1966 that killed 14 people and injured 32.  This shooting occurred when former student Marine by the name of Charles Joseph Whitman climbed to the top of the iconic bell tower and fired sniper shots at the students. Whitman was eventually shot by the police. That was the second worst school shooting in U.S. history behind the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007.

The shooting is the focus among a much broader issue of carrying concealed weapons on UT‘s campus. Currently, 24 states allow students on college campuses to carry concealed weapons.  Some believe that having a concealed weapon could be used for self-defense purposes.  Others say it would just breed another attack.

“Because of gun free zone laws, everyone who was a potential victim [during Tuesday’s attack] were at the mercy of a crazed gunman,” said Jeff Shi, the UT campus coordinator for Students for Concealed Weapons on Campus, told the Christian Science Monitor.

Students and staff at UT are trying to make sense of the event, only muddling the concealed weapon debate even more.