West U residents describe the moment a gunman attacked

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Residents in West University Place are coming to terms with the aftermath of the shooting

The pre-dawn shooting happened just inside the Houston city limits Monday morning, but its impact extended a block away to much of the community of West University Place.
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On Law St, where the shooting started, plumber Scott Smolensky said his decision to postpone walking his dogs by five minutes likely saved his life.

"I would have been walking right past there if I had started on time," said Smolensky. "It makes me want to get a concealed handgun license."

At a nearby duplex, two residents noted a bullet hole in their sheetrock. They believe it traveled through the wall. The residents were not wounded,

"It's low enough that it could have gotten my leg or my foot, but my dog, thank God, was in bed with me," said Lea Panzica.

Streets near the shooting, remained blocked for much of the day because of the investigation and some people couldn't get to work.

"My bosses understood. Their first question was whether I was okay," said Panzica.

Next Level Fitness is near the shooting scene, and some clients had just left the facility when the shooting happened. Personal trainer, Jeanne Herbert was driving by the area when shots were first fired.

"I saw two guys running, and thought, did I just hear gunshots? Then my husband called after seeing it on Channel 13, and said, 'There's an active shooter by the gym. Come home now,'" Herbert said.

She did, but returned when the all-clear was issued.

Other businesses were prepared for customers, but they couldn't cross the yellow crime scene tape.

At the health club, Curves for Women, employee Barbara Meadow issued her own lock down when she heard about the shooting.

"I had five early-bird ladies and we turned off the lights and locked ourselves in the treadmill room," said Meadow.

Among those trying to work off some stress at Curves this afternoon was psychologist, Susan Hunter. She said the community is bound to feel some trauma from such random violence hitting an enclave known for low crime, right where it lives.

"It was our little safe neighborhood. That's what I kept thinking," said Hunter.

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