UPDATE: Several students report paintball, pellet attacks

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Updated 05/07: Although a reported incident occurred the evening of Monday April 23, Robert Rangel, the assistant chief of TCU Police, did not send a public announcement to TCU students and faculty and staff until three days later, Thursday evening.

“We try not to send those out very often,” Rangel said. “If we send those out all the time they can begin disregarding them, so we reserve those crime alerts for when it’s immediate danger.”

He said the department has specific criteria when sending crime alerts, one of those being the TCU community must be in immediate ongoing risk.

“The first night was just paintballs so it just made a mess,” said Rangel. He said the second night the men had changed to using pellets, which had more range and higher chances of harming.

“The pellets can cause serious injury so at that point it was no longer an isolated incident,” Rangel said. 

The crime alert stated three men were arrested; however, Rangel said there was a fact error and only two men were arrested.

It remains an ongoing investigation and more charges are anticipated, Rangel said.

 

 

Fort Worth Police have arrested three men and two other suspects have been identified in connection with a string of paintball and pellet shootings this week that left one student with a pellet lodged in her buttock.

TCU Police sent out a campus alert late Thursday evening, by that time many on and off campus were already discussing the attacks.

Students and Fort Worth Police reported attacks on Monday and Wednesday night.

One student who asked not to be identified said he was shot with a pellet gun Wednesday night as he waited to cross South University Drive near the Mary Couts Burnett Library. The student, who wasn’t injured, said he was wearing a hoodie when a pellet grazed the back of his neck.

According to police around  11:11 p.m. and 11:27 p.m. Wednesday, people reported that paintballs and pellets were being aimed at them from a tan mid 2000s Nissan Altima. Two TCU police officers arrived at the scene and stopped the suspected vehicle. Fort Worth Police identified three suspects, two 21-year-olds and a 17-year-old, in connection with the attacks.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Robert Rangel, the assistant chief of TCU Police. Rangel declined to answer detailed questions about the attacks without an open records request. Under the Texas act, police have up to 10 business days to respond to these requests and they aren’t required to release information if they feel doing so would hinder an investigation.

Dalton Passons said he was nearby Wednesday when the student wearing the hoodie was struck with the pellet.

“They were driving towards us and yelled, ‘Hey cuz!’ And then I looked over my shoulder and heard the shots and saw the gun,” Passons said.

Passons said they were unable to identify the suspects because it was so dark.

“That area is not very well lit,” said Passons.

Monday’s reported incident went unannounced until Thursday night when TCU students received an email from Rangel. Late Friday morning, Student Development Services sent an email to TCU parents outlining the attacks.

According to the email, “Protocols for Crime Alerts require that there be an immediate and continuing threat to the community and, although the suspects were no longer in the area, a Public Safety Announcement is being sent out to inform the community about the status of the investigation and to alleviate concerns of an ongoing threat.”

“I was surprised TCU police emailed as late they did,” said the student who was attacked Wednesday.

According to a Facebook post the student with the pellet injury was also attacked Wednesday.

On Monday, first-year mechanical engineering major Omega Stallworth said he was driving a Froggie Five-O cart, the student escort service, around 10 p.m. by Marion Hall when he heard a noise and noticed pink paint flying everywhere as a black pick-up truck drove off.

Stallworth and the students in the cart weren’t hit.

That same night two students said they were shot at as they walked back to campus from Kroger.

Sophomores Rosemary Dupre and Brooke Bezich were walking by Mary Wright Admission Center on Bellaire Drive North when Dupre said suspects rolled down the window, yelled and fired their weapons.

“We ducked,” said Dupre. “Brooke fell in the bushes. It was so scary.”