Misinformation and confusion surrounds campus shooting

January 24, 2013 5:25:50 PM PST
Why has there been so much misinformation surrounding the shooting on the North Harris campus of Lone Star College, and why do we still not know who fired the shots that launched dozens of deputies?

The confusion started within hours of the shooting. The sheriff's office had the time wrong by 30 minutes and the response time cut in half from what it actually was. But by Thursday, there were more serious inconsistencies. On Wednesday, the investigation said Carlton Berry was the shooter. By Thursday, it's said to be Trey Foster. Same gun, same charges -- lots of confusion.

It was a chaotic scene Tuesday afternoon, with 10 gunshots fired on a college campus. There were four victims, two seriously wounded. Hundreds of students were nearby and 140 deputies responding.

"That is just how we roll," said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia at a news conference on Wednesday. "They ran into danger."

But two days and two news conferences after the shooting, even the most basic questions are still unclear.

"At this time we are considering the campus is safe," declared Major Armando Tello with the Harris County Sheriff's Office Tuesday afternoon.

Hours after the incident Tuesday the sheriff's office sounded the all clear.

Major Tello said, "The two people that were involved in the incident are the people that are at the hospital."

Again on Wednesday a beaming Sheriff Garcia congratulated his team, calling himself a 'proud papa.'

"Today is a good day," he said. "Lone Star College is safe."

But something wasn't adding up.

"We have not recovered the firearm we believe was used in this case," Sheriff Garcia said.

The gun in the case was missing and still is, and so was the person who likely fired it. By Thursday morning, we learned a man prosecutors now call a shooter in this case was still on the loose.

"Fact #1 -- this individual right here, Carlton Berry, was charged last night with two counts of aggravated assault," Sheriff Garcia told the media on Wednesday. "We hope, I hope, he gets what he deserves."

We know what he got so far -- a nationally televised shout out from our sheriff. But was it too soon?

On Thursday Garcia's deputies and the district attorney are relying on the Berry's word to charge that second man, who's still on the loose and may be Tuesday's lone shooter.

The beauty of this, it was well coordinated," Sheriff Garcia said Wednesday. "It all worked well. The pieces came together as well as you can expect under a very chaotic situation."

Just before 4pm Wednesday the sheriff was holding up Carlton Berry's photo for the whole world to see. But his deputies had already identified Trey Foster. We know that because a court document time stamp proves that just about two hours later, at 6:22pm, his deputies swore before a judge the other guy was the shooter.

Texas law allows both men to be guilty, but with a known shooter on the loose, was it too early to say all was safe?

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