Police search for clues in student's murder

Authorities are seeking information in the fatal shooting of TSU student Joshua McMackle on April 17, 2010.

April 20, 2010 12:19:06 PM PDT
Houston police are searching for witnesses after a Texas Southern University student was killed during a party over the weekend. There were a couple hundred people at the party at the time, but finding someone who actually saw what happened has not been easy. Eyewitness Cymetria Dillard isn't sure who she saw lying in the yard early Saturday morning. She'd just ducked for cover after hearing a string of shots fired.

"It was like pop, pop, pop, continuously, just emptying out the handgun clip," Dillard said.

Dillard was among several hundred college students attending an off-campus party at a home in the 3700 block of Wheeler. It was about 1am Saturday, just after TSU's 'Spring Fest.' The after-party was not a university sponsored event.

Detectives tell us 21-year-old Joshua McMackle was shot in the back and that he fled down the street and collapsed in a yard. They say there had been a fight but they can't yet explain what sparked the argument.

McMackle died at the hospital. Another person was shot here but survived.

There is already now a memorial page for McMackle on Facebook where friends and relatives are offering condolences and asking that he rest in peace.

"It's quite shocking," said TSU Professor Arthur Sanders. "People are sobered by it."

McMackle was a freshman at TSU, a music production major who moved here from Virginia. We're told he had a promising future.

His speech professor says the seat in which McMackle sat every Monday, Wednesday and Friday will now remain vacant the rest of the semester -- not just in McMackle's memory, but also as a reminder that bad things can happen, no matter where or how careful you are.

Sanders said, "It's just one of those things we can't really escape, regardless of how Pollyannaish we'd like to view the world. Things happen. We have to deal with them."

If you have any information about the shooting, you're asked to call 713-222-TIPS. Police have not released any information about the gunman.

TSU says grief counselors are on hand at school to help students deal with the killing. The university is talking about holding a memorial service for McMackle.

This is not the first shooting in recent months here. Last summer eight were wounded on campus after a concert.


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