UPDATED | May 03, 2017 10:30 PM
IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – North Lake College in Irving was placed on lockdown Wednesday after a man opened fire on campus, killing a woman, then turning the gun on himself.
Irving Police responded to the active shooter call at the community college campus around 11:30 a.m. Once there, they discovered the body of Janeera Nickol Gonzalez, 20, inside the Performance Hall Building.
After searching the adjoining buildings, officers found the body of Adrian Victor Torres, 21, inside a locker room shower stall in Building “F”. Police said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Detectives said it’s still unclear if Gonzalez and Torres have a prior connection.
However, Gonzalez’s family said Torres was stalking the college student.
After Torres started shooting, students were immediately evacuated and several others were forced to take shelter in place as police arrived and began searching the campus for the suspect.
“I reached a big hall and I just saw a guy, and someone was sitting in a chair, and the guy was standing in front of her and shot her three times,” said Nasrin Nanbakhsh, a North Lake College math tutor who has worked for the college for 20 years. “I immediately ran back to the room where I’m working. We’re trained in emergencies and I was thinking of those steps we need to do so we locked the doors, turned off the lights. I asked all the students to go back to the back room and hide there and be quiet.”
Nanbakhsh said despite years of practicing for active shooter situations, she never thought she’d actually need that training.
“I honestly didn’t,” she said. “Unfortunately with what’s going on, the news, every day there is something, things are unpredictable.”
Another school employee, James Hardy, was in ‘Building A’ on the North Lake Campus when the shots rang out. He hid with his wife and about 25 other people until it was over.
“We barricaded the door until the police came. It was very scary!”
Like Hardy and Nanbakhshand other teachers and students barricaded doors, turned off lights and huddled quietly in the backs of rooms and in closets. Many were there for well over an hour as they waited for officers to give them the all clear so they could walk away from the campus. It was a time consuming task as officers searched and cleared every room of every building. Many spent that time terrified, not knowing if at any minute a shooter would barge through the door.
Student Alex Paterson recalled his terror.
“While we were locked in there, it was just agony. I mean I literally saw people praying that they were going to get out. And I was too. It’s, I mean, that’s the first time I’ve ever been in a situation like that and I’m thankful I made it out.”
Nearby Singley Academy and MacArthur High School were also placed on lockdown as a precaution.
North Lake College students were active on social media sharing what they saw and heard on campus.
On social media, one student reported seeing police with rifles in the college library.
Images were sent out from students showing the university on lockdown with a heavy police presence in the parking lots.
Dr. Christa Slejko, president of North Lake College, said, “This is an emotional time for the North Lake family. We’re heartbroken that such a tragedy has occurred on campus. We will address any needs for counseling on campus as soon as we re-open,” said Dr. Christa Slejko, President of North Lake College. “North Lake students and employees followed lockdown procedures, and we are relieved that no one else was injured. We also offer our thanks to officers from the Irving Police Department, who partnered with North Lake College Police, to protect students and staff on campus.”
All North Lake College campuses will be closed until Monday, May 8. Students or employees who need to retrieve personal belongings from buildings on the main campus should go to the central campus library tomorrow (Thursday), May 4, between 9 and 11 a.m. so that they can be escorted by college police.
The Dallas County Community College District chancellor, Dr. Joe May, issued this statement:
“On behalf of the Dallas County Community College District, I want to express our grief and sadness about the shooting tragedy that occurred at North Lake College today. We will work with the Irving Police Department on this investigation, and we thank them for their assistance. Now we must move forward as a community to console each other and to help one another during this difficult time.”
The DART Orange line was temporarily rerouted due to the situation — the train stop at the campus was closed. All bus service to North Lake College Station was temporarily halted as well.
Attorney and former law enforcement officer Pete Schulte told CBS 11: