The University of Texas at Austin issued an "all clear" early Tuesday afternoon, several hours after a gunman opened fire at the largest campus library and then killed himself without killing anyone else. He had also apparently sprayed some shots outside.
Authorities identified the gunman as 19-year-old Colton Tooley, a sophomore math major. Police declined to speculate on his motive.
The lack of additional deaths is a remarkable deliverance by God: What is a personal tragedy could readily have become massive. The Perry-Castandeda Library is a busy place, and right across the street is a dorm building largely inhabited by freshmen and so enormous that it has its own ZIP code.
The university canceled classes for the day as rumors about a possible second suspect zipped around campus. "Lock doors, don't leave your building," a university spokesman said in an email alert to all students and staff. Police and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed corridors. Then came relief, along with research into who the gunman was and why he acted as he did.
UT was the scene of probably the most infamous campus shooting before Virginia Tech's tragedy in 2007 (see "'Darkest moment,'" by Jamie Dean, April 28, 2007). On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman went to the 28th floor observation deck at the UT clock tower in the middle of campus and began shooting at people below. He killed 16 people and wounded nearly three dozen before police killed him about 90 minutes after the siege began.