Joggers around Rice U. on alert

September 8, 2009 9:12:04 PM PDT
Rice University police want to find whomever shot at least five people over the Labor Day holiday weekend with what may be an air rifle. While nobody was seriously hurt, it's a case police want closed. If you plan to hit the trail here at Rice this week, you should know about this series of shootings. All of the shootings happened in the early afternoon on both Monday and Sunday. The victims suffered only minor injuries. They've been lucky.

Police believe the weapon used in the shootings could do serious damage if the shot is just right.

For the hundreds of people who use the track around Rice University every day, now they not only have to worry about dodging traffic, but also dodging pellets.

"I had no idea. I hope I don't get shot," said jogger Greg Lindsay.

Over the holiday weekend, five people were shot with what Rice University police believe to be an air-powered gun, possibly a BB gun. Four out of the five victims were either walking or running along the trail that loops the campus. The fifth, the only Rice student, was shot in the arm on University near Morningside in Rice Village. It's the only one during which the shooters were on foot. The rest, the victims report, were drive-bys.

"It's scary enough to run by yourself sometimes much less to worry about something like that," said jogger Becky Ahlgrim.

Rice University police sent out an alert to both the campus and the nearby community detailing the attacks, urging everyone to be cautious around the perimeter of campus and telling them to report similar incidents.

Rice freshman Danyelle Evans is puzzled about the motivation

"Like why? Why shoot people with a bb gun? What does that do?" she asked.

Evans finds comfort in the fact that police are posted around the loop and she won't be scared away.

"Be aware is what I would say. But don't compromise your exercise. Stay fit," said Evans.

The victims on Sunday say the shooters were in a white pickup. The ones Monday say the shooters were in a gray SUV. The race of the attackers also varies, so police aren't sure if all the shootings are connected. Nevertheless, you should be cautious they say because the shooter could return.

If you can help the Rice University Police Department with the investigation, please call 713-348-6000.

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