Recent Greenville shooting shakes up TAMUC


TAMUC students made the hashtag #WEDEMANDTIME trend across Twitter in a recent callout to the university to cancel classes. The Tweet comes after a recent Greenville shooting that resulted in the deaths of two individuals.

Daniel Yanez, Reporter

As of Monday afternoon Brandon Ray Gonzales has been arrested in connection with the late Saturday night shooting in Greenville, Texas that left two individuals dead and 12 others injured. The 23-year-old suspect from Greenville was arrested by authorities and charged with capital murder of multiple persons. He is being held in the Hunt County Jail on a $1 million bond.

The names of the two victims have since been released. Kevin Berry Jr. of Dallas and Byron Cravens of Arlington, both 23, were not students at Texas A&M-University. Of the 12 injuries, six were reported to be gunshot wounds while the other half resulted from broken glass or being trampled on in the midst of the chaos. 

According to a campus-wide email sent by TAMUC President Mark Rudin, four of the individuals injured at the event are students at the university. In the email, Rudin said the students were treated and released from local hospitals. 

The shooting occurred at The Party Venue off US Highway 380 in Greenville Saturday around midnight at an off-campus homecoming celebration where over 700 people were in attendance.

According to an early email by Director of Campus Operations and Safety, Derek Preas, the party was not a university sanctioned event. Various reports show the ‘Twerk or Treat’ party was promoted by individuals and that the venue was rented by “The Good Fellows” of Commerce. 

This afternoon the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference to inform the public about the arrest and answer questions for the media. According to Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks Hunt County investigators worked the crime scene for nearly 18 hours alongside FBI agents, DPS, the Criminal Investigation Department, the Department of Homeland Security, Texas Rangers and the ATF.

Meeks said the crime scene was “horrific” as he described the aftermath investigators saw at the venue. 

“[There was] victim’s blood inside and outside the building, different shoes lying inside and outside left behind by people fleeing the building to save their own lives,” Meeks said. 

The sheriff said people ran to deputies outside seeking medical help and safety. 

Following the chaos and overnight hours, Meeks said various law enforcement agencies worked with what little information they had to identify the shooter and obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect. 

“We just kept pushing and pushing until people finally started coming forward,” Meeks said. “Once one person came forward with a little bit of information then that led to another little bit of information and investigators were able to keep on pushing until we got the name of the suspect.”

Meeks said Gonzales was apprehended and arrested at his place of employment earlier today and has been cooperative with the investigation. Although Gonzales has admitted he was at the party, he has not admitted to being the shooter. The sheriff also said the investigation is still underway and authorities have not recovered the weapon or a motive for the shooting. He added that they are working to find more information. Meeks said he does not expect other arrests to be made.

Gunfire disrupts Dallas Vigil, TAMUC cancels Community Gathering, classes

A vigil for Kevin Berry Jr., one of the victims of the late night Saturday shooting in Greenville was disrupted by gunfire on Sunday night. 

According to a WFAA report, WFAA’s Matt Howerton and photojournalist Matt McNew were covering the vigil when shots rang out near the end of the vigil. According to the report multiple news crews took cover at the scene and everyone was OK after the shooting stopped. 

No injuries were reported but bullets did damage several vehicles. 

The same reports witnesses pointed Dallas police to a car that sped away from the scene. While an arrest was made, police were unable to link the driver to the vigil shooting. 

Following reports of the shooting at the Dallas vigil, multiple TAMUC students voiced their own safety concerns across Twitter and other social media platforms. 

Originally, a Campus Gathering to mourn the loss of the two victims and to acknowledge the tragedy peers experienced was scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday afternoon at the campus Amphitheater. The event was cancelled shortly after. 

“Based on conversations we have had with various students across campus, the decision has been made to postpone the community gathering originally planned for 4 p.m. today,” TAMUC President Mark Rudin said. “We appreciate the feedback you have provided, and care about your concerns. We remain committed to the health and wellbeing of our campus community.”

SGA and Student Body President Kelsey Deckard said in an email she is deeply saddened by the incident that took place Saturday night. 

“My heart goes out to all of those who lost their lives and all of those who were hurt as well,” Deckard said. “I also want to sincerely apologize to all of the families and friends who lost someone that they loved. The event that took place last night was terrifying. I witnessed it myself and I truly feel everyone’s pain.”

While TAMUC held regularly scheduled classes Monday, the university decided later Monday afternoon to cancel Tuesday and Wednesday classes classes after students expressed mental, physical and emotional health concerns. 

Many of the students pushing for classes to be cancelled made the hashtag #WEDEMANDTIME trend across Twitter. Along with the hashtag, a photo with text was shared. 

“Grief has no timeline, structure, or specific criteria that can be put in a box. The actions of a few, have affected the lives of the many and we refuse to remain silent during this blatant disregard for our recovery as a campus community,” the Tweet read.

The Tweet goes on to call for the cancellation of classes and closes with “We will not settle for less.” 

In a campus-wide email Rudin said the wellbeing of students remains a priority for the university. 

“As a result, we have decided to cancel all classes for Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at all locations. We acknowledge your need for valuable healing time following the Greenville tragedy,” Rudin said in an email regarding the cancellation of classes. 

Twitter users noted that while the shooting did not happen on campus, a large majority of the partygoers were TAMUC students who had to witness some of their peers get shot and others die. 

Although the university will not hold classes the following two days, Rudin said  all essential services, including residential life and dining operations, will continue their normal operations for students. His also said TAMUC will continue to provide ongoing counseling and other support services to help students during the healing process.

For counseling services students are encouraged to visit the Counseling Center located in the Halladay Student Services Building. Students may also call 903-886-5145.