New Details In Texas Shooting

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 1:05pm

Police officer, gunman and innocent bystander killed in Monday shooting near Texas A&M campus.

A gunman who fired numerous shots at officers and pedestrians near the Texas A&M University campus, killing two and wounding several others before he was killed, was armed with several weapons, College Station police said Tuesday.

The deadly shootout erupted Monday shortly after noon, about two blocks from the campus.

According to College Station police, Brazos County Precinct 1 Constable Brian Bachmann, 41, went to the home of Thomas Alton Caffall, 35, to serve an eviction notice and was shot.

Police said they then received 911 calls about a shooting.

Bachmann did not radio in for help, officials said.

Investigators said Caffall opened fire on Bachmann.

"From our investigation, Bachmann arrived on the scene shortly after noon. Either upon his approach to the house or shortly thereafter, it appears he was shot by the suspect in the front yard of that residence. Caffall then started to shoot at other victims in the area and College Station police officers as they approached the scene," College Station Police Chief Jeff Capps said.

Officers responding to the reports of an officer down saw Bachmann wounded on the ground in the front yard, then got into what police described as an extended shootout with Caffall.

"Upon their initial arrival, they started taking gunfire. They returned gunfire and that went on for several minutes, back and forth, and then officers were able to shoot the suspect," Capps said. "During the incident, Caffall fired multiple rounds. Investigators have recovered some long guns and pistols from his residence that were used in the assault."

Bachmann and Caffall were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Chris Northcliff, 51, a civilian from College Station, was the third person killed in the shootings at the off-campus home near the university's football stadium.

Three other law enforcement officers and Barbara Holdsworth, 51, of Houston, were wounded, College Station Assistant Police Chief Scott McCollum said.

Officer Justin Oehlke was wounded in the calf, police said.

Two other officers -- Brad Smith and Phil Dorsett -- were treated for "shrapnel injuries" and released.

Holdsworth was in serious condition after undergoing surgery.

Friends said the mother was helping her daughter move when the shooting started.

Police spokeswoman Rhonda Seaton said Northcliff and Holdsworth were outside when they were shot.

Caffall had no prior police record in College Station, authorities said.

Officials did not say if Caffall had permits for his guns.

Investigators said they do not know if Bachmann had any warning that Caffall was armed.

Police would not release if Bachmann was wearing a bulletproof vest.

"Bachmann was a pillar in this community," College Station Police Department Assistant Chief Scott McCollum said. "It's sad and tragic that we lost him today."

The entire gunfire exchange between Caffall and officers lasted about 30 minutes, detectives said.

"When I heard the first shots going out, I ducked down under my truck, in the floorboards, and I started counting shots," witness Will Hatheway said. "I wanted to make sure how many shots were fired because I know that detail is always required, and I wanted to help out the police."

Hatheway said he heard 30 shots that were fired from what sounded like a semiautomatic weapon.

Police declined to speculate on a motive for the gunfire.

Caffall's sister said Monday night the family was "shocked" by the violence.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and this is just a senseless tragedy," said Courtney Clark, Caffall's sister, reached Monday evening at her mother's home in Navasota, about 20 miles to the south. "We are just distraught by the havoc that he has caused."

She declined additional comment.

A Code Maroon was issued at Texas A&M after the shooting.

Police urged people to stay away from the area as they investigated four scenes hours after the shooting.

Most of the university's 50,000 students were not on the campus about 90 miles northwest of Houston because the fall semester doesn't start until August 27, university spokeswoman Sherylon Carroll said.

"I was scared," one student said. "I live here by myself. I just moved to the area. I was told it was a quiet neighborhood, mostly college students. I wasn't expecting anything like this."
 

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