GREENVILLE, Texas >> A man suspected of opening fire at an off-campus college party in Texas, killing two people and injuring 12 others, was arrested today.
Brandon Ray Gonzales, 23, of Greenville, Texas, was taken into custody less than 48 hours after Saturday’s shooting, Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said. Gonzales, who was arrested at the auto dealership where he worked, was booked into the Hunt County jail on a charge of capital murder of multiple persons. Bond was set at $1 million. In a television interview today, Gonzales maintained he is innocent.
The shooting happened around midnight Saturday outside Greenville, 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of a satellite campus of the Texas A&M University System. Authorities believe the shooter may have been targeting just one person at the party of about 750 people, and that others may have been shot at random, Meeks has said.
Kevin Berry Jr. of Dallas and Byron Craven Jr. of Arlington, both 23, were killed, authorities said.
The shooting took place at a Halloween and homecoming party for Texas A&M University-Commerce at a facility called The Party Venue, according to Meeks, though officials said it was not a school-sanctioned event.
Authorities believe the shooter entered the venue, which sits along a highway in a rural area some 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the Greenville city limits, through the back door and began firing with a handgun, Meeks said. It was “complete chaos” after the shots rang out, with hundreds of people including the gunman fleeing, the sheriff said.
In an interview from the Hunt County jail in Greenville, Texas, Gonzales told WFAA-TV that he was at the party dressed as a security guard but that he was in his car outside the party hall when the gunfire erupted. He said he has witnesses who can corroborate his whereabouts, but he wouldn’t identify those witnesses in the interview.
Of the 12 people injured, six were shot and six were trampled or hurt by glass, authorities said. Five remained in the hospital — one in critical condition and four in good condition — today, Meeks said.
The shooting came as Texas A&M University-Commerce, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of Dallas, celebrated homecoming weekend. According to its website, it is the second-largest university in the Texas A&M University System.
After a vigil for Berry on Sunday night at a Dallas park, at least one person opened fire. Dallas police said no one was injured but several vehicles were reported damaged.
Texas A&M University-Commerce had planned to hold a community gathering this afternoon featuring student and faith-based leaders along with counselors. But the school later said that based on conversations with students, the decision was made to postpone the gathering. University officials did not elaborate.