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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Classes are cancelled at North Lake College for the rest of the week, this after a gunman opened fire on the Irving campus late Wednesday morning.
The campus was placed on lockdown just before noon after a man shot and killed a woman before turning the gun on himself. Police said that man was Adrian Victor Torres and that he had been stalking the victim, Janeera Nickol Gonzalez.
While no classes are being held today, students, faculty and staff who were evacuated Wednesday had a few hours this morning to retrieve their belongings from the campus.
Anyone wanting to pick up their property was advised to be at the central campus library between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Once there college police escorted individuals where they needed to go.
Many people on the campus today said it was the last place they wanted to be. When the shooting happened student Valeria Sanchez said, “I left my laptop and everything, but I didn’t look back because I didn’t care.”
A flood of memories came back to LaShawn Richardson when she returned to the campus. “I was just in class doing a test and then all of a sudden I heard like footsteps, running down the hallway. I heard a police officer say ‘Lock the door, take shelter,’ and pretty much me and the rest of my classmates were so scared.”
Some people saw the entire murder-suicide unfold. One witness told police Torres walked up to Gonzalez, yelled “You know who I am and you know why I’m here,” and then shot her three times.
Math tutor Nasrin Nanbakhsh also witnessed the shooting and said while she was stunned, she remembered campus protocol, headed for cover and warned others along the way.
Still Nanbakhsh said it’s harrowing to think about the stranger who just moments before she’d seen sitting quietly in a chair. “I saw the gun. He shot three times, and it was too close,” she said. “I felt bad for her. I thought, ‘she won’t make it.’”
Gonzalez died at the scene. According to North Lake College records, the 20-year-old was a current student. The young woman’s parents, Juan and Lucia Gonzalez, said there had been warning signs.
Lucia Gonzalez said, “He had been stalking her for a quite a while, but she didn’t make anything of it. She thought he was harmless but he had left the campus at North Lake to go to UNT or something like that. About three weeks ago he came back. We’re not aware if he was actually back enrolled in North Lake or if he was just coming there just to keep an eye on her or whatever.”
The couple said they grew worried when their daughter didn’t respond to text messages, so they began searching for her. The family said they alter learned that a nurse who witnessed the shooting tried to help their daughter, but she was already dead.
Juan Gonzalez simply said, “We cannot describe the pain that we have.” His wife agreed and said, “I cannot process because I can’t… I don’t even believe this is happening. I haven’t seen her body. It’s like surreal to me.”
Administrators at North Lake said their focus next week will be on student safety. Dallas County Community College District police commissioner Lauretta Hill said security will be beefed up and evacuation procedures streamlined.
“We’ll also look at what we did, what we did well and what we can approve on and part of that is looking at staffing to make sure that we are fully staffed,” she said.
Hill also said there will be extra security and grief counselors on the campus next week when classes resume.
While Texas’ Campus Carry law is in effect at public universities, the law doesn’t go into effect at private universities and community colleges until August of this year. It isn’t yet known if Torres owned the gun he had legally or if he had a license to carry a concealed weapon.
The shooting at North Lake happened just two days after North Texas native Harrison Brown was killed and three others injured in a stabbing attack at the University of Texas in Austin. Brown was a freshman at the university.