A male student reportedly wearing a ski mask, now identified by the Travis county medical examiner as Colton Tooley, 19, opened fire on the UT campus Tuesday morning, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Austin and UT Police officials said the shooting began just after 8 a.m. near the UT Tower, the sight of the one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings when former student Charles Whitman ascended the clock tower and fired down upon dozens of students in 1966, killing 16 and wounding 32.
Tooley fired between eight and 10 shots from an automatic weapon before fatally shooting himself in the Perry-Castañeda library, officials said.
Alexandra Jones, 19, a sophomore English and journalism major double major, said she is from San Antonio, about an hour south of Austin.
“I was scared at first because I know so many people who go there,” Jones said. “The first thing I did was call and text a couple of close friends to make sure they were safe. It is definitely a scary situation and really hit home for me. I’ve been to that campus so many times. I never thought that would actually happen there.”
Other CU students said they had not heard about the incident.
“I’m surprised that this happened,” said freshman open-option major Olivia Ray, 18. “I didn’t hear about it. I’m glad no one got hurt.”
The campus was placed on lock-down for most of the morning and students, staff and faculty were then allowed to leave around noon, officials reported.
Police officials said they originally believed there was a second gunman involved, but after further investigation, officials reported they believe Tooley acted alone.
UT records indicate Tooley was a 19-year-old sophomore math major.
Some students said that shootings often leave an impact on the community in which they happen.
“[Shootings] are tragic,” said Bryan Koppa, 18, a freshman open-option major. “They not only affect the shooter, but everyone around them, such as friends and family. They leave a big impact on a lot of people for a long time.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ashley Ward at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org.