Three killed in shootings near Texas A&M University
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — A Texas constable and two others were shot dead Monday in about a half an hour of gunfire near Texas A&M University, police said.
Scott McCollum, assistant chief with the College Station police department, told reporters Monday afternoon that the three people killed were a Brazos County constable, the man authorities say exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers and a male civilian.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund noted that the slain constable, Brian Bachmann, is the sixth law enforcement official killed so far this year in Texas.
According to his Facebook campaign page, Bachmann was a 41-year-old from College Station who had been a Brazos County sheriff's deputy since 1993. The county's website indicated that his four-year term as constable -- a position that involves, among other duties, serving court documents such as eviction notices and subpoenas to citizens -- was set to expire on December 31, 2014.
"He was a pillar in this community, and it's sad and tragic that we've lost him today," McCollum said.
The city of College Station on Monday night identified the suspect at the center of the standoff as 35 year old Thomas Caffall.
On a Facebook page purported to be by Caffall, he indicates his hometown is nearby Bryan, Texas, but that he was living in College Station -- though he also described himself as "a cross between Forrest Gump and Jack Kerouac ... I'm on the road permanently."
Three of the seven profile pictures on the Facebook page are of rifles, three feature dogs and one shows a man in an image much like one distributed Monday night by the city of College Station. His list of "inspirational people" includes famed snipers Vasily Zaytsev and Carlos Hathcock, as well as noted firearms designers Eugene Stoner, Mikhail Kalashnikov, John Garand, Samuel Colt and John Browning. The writer indicates he is divorced and has a mother, sister and brother.
The page also includes a quote saying, "We are all capable of redemption, if we are willing to change," plus another he attributes to George Orwell stating, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
As to the third victim, described as a "civilian bystander," he was identified as 43-year-old Chris Northcliff of College Station.
Four others suffered injuries in the roughly 30-minute ordeal after law enforcement officers arrived at a residence a few blocks from the Texas A&M campus.
They included College Station police Officer Justin Oehlke, who was shot in the calf, and two other officers -- one of whom refused transport to an area hospital -- who suffered "non-life-threatening injuries," McCollum said. A 55-year-old female civilian who was shot was undergoing surgery Monday afternoon at a hospital, according to the assistant police chief.
He explained that police got a call shortly after 12:10 p.m. from a citizen indicating shots had been fired in the residential area just south of the university campus. He added that the constable had gone to the residence to deliver an eviction notice.
Texas A&M issued a Code Maroon -- the university's emergency notification system -- at 12:29 p.m., telling people to avoid the area because of a report of an "active shooter."
By then, two law enforcement officers who were nearby had responded and found the constable down in the front yard of a home. They "received fire from the suspect inside, ... took cover and defended themselves," McCollum said, noting other officers were then called to the scene.
"They ended up shooting the gunman," said the assistant police chief.
At 12:44 p.m., Texas A&M posted another Code Maroon update on its website indicating the suspect was by then "in custody."
Caffall's mother Linda Weaver issued a statement through family attorney W. Tyler Moore indicating her son, whom she called Tres, was "ill" and saying the family was "shocked and devastated by the tragedy."
"Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the deceased and the wounded victims," Weaver said. "We mourn them and the loss of Tres. He had been ill. It breaks our hearts his illness led to this."
College Station Mayor Nancy Berry also put out a statement Monday night in which she lauded Bachmann, her city's police department and others "who stood with us throughout the day."
"What unfolded today in College Station is beyond tragic," Berry said. "There are many victims, including families of Mr. Caffall and Mr. Northcliff, who will continue to suffer physical and emotional pain for a very long time, and we shouldn't forget them."
CNN's Nick Valencia, Jason Morris and Carma Hassan contributed to this report