Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More death on a campus

Another killing on a college campus.

Another death and another waste of life.

Northeast Lakeview instructor shot dead
Melissa Ludwig and David Saleh Rauf - Express-News

An adjunct librarian shot and killed a fellow employee Monday afternoon in the library at Northeast Lakeview College, school officials said.
Alan Godin, a 62-year-old librarian, walked in about 2:15 p.m. and shot Devin Zimmerman, a 37-year-old instructor and librarian, said Eric Reno, president of the school, at 8300 Pat Booker Road on the Northeast Side. The shooter then sat down and waited to be arrested.
Godin was later charged with murder and held on $250,000 bond.

Reno said the two men worked together often but officials knew no motive for the shooting.
“I wish we had an explanation for why this happened,” Reno said. “It's a tragedy nobody could have imagined.”
Reno said he knew both men, and that the shooter showed no signs of instability. The gunman had worked part time at the library off and on since 2003, and Zimmerman had worked there since fall 2007, Reno said.

About 15 to 20 students were in the library when the shooting occurred. Police emptied the building.

Classes at Northeast Lakeview College, the newest of five Alamo Community Colleges, were canceled for Monday and today. The school, which serves 4,114 students, will, however, be open today for students to speak with counselors.

The campus serves as a transitional facility while the college moves into a new $125 million campus at 1201 Kitty Hawk Road. Classes are held at both locations, and the Pat Booker campus houses student services and administrative offices as well as the library, where students come to study and use the Internet.

The library has security cameras but no metal detectors, Reno said.
“I don't know how anyone could predict something like this happening,” Reno said. “This is not something you can plan for or prevent. I would hate to think that's what we've come to — have metal detectors and become mini-airports.”

Troy Swansen, a 21-year-old student, said he was reading a book in the library when the shooting occurred. He said he heard shots near the front counter but a pillar obstructed his view. “I was wondering, ‘That can't be a gunshot,'” Swansen said. “A few more came out and I was like, ‘Yeah, that's a gunshot.'”
Swansen said everyone started “freaking out and screaming,” and he flew out the back door.

Derek Adair, a 24-year-old business administration major, said he was sitting in the cyber cafĂ© about 20 feet from the library door when he heard “loud pops” and saw flashes out of the corner of his eye. He took off running, and by the time he hit the side door, Adair saw campus police arriving.
“It was pretty frightening,” Adair said. “Everybody was just trying to get out of the building before they got shot.”

Adair described Zimmerman as a “very nice guy” who always helped with students' questions.
According to a spring 2008 newsletter from the Texas Library Association, Zimmerman had been awarded an Amigos Fellowship and planned to spend the next two years researching ways librarians could better accommodate students with disabilities.

In the past few months, ACC has obtained three restraining orders against students they felt were unstable, including one who threatened to kill a professor in a legal pleading. Recently, ACC began training employees to respond to a shooter on campus, coaching them to run, hide or do whatever is necessary to take down the shooter and prevent him from killing more people.
Swansen, one of the students in the library, said his flight instinct kicked in when he heard shots.
“It could have happened anywhere,” he said. “It could have been a Whataburger, it could have been an H-E-B. If someone has a beef against someone and they are hell-bent on killing them, they are going to do it.”