A masked student wielding an AK-47 terrorized the University of Texas at Austin as he ran across campus on Tuesday shooting randomly but hurting no one until he killed himself, officials said.
The university, citing the coroner, identified the gunman as 19-year-old Colton Tooley, a second-year math major.
It was unclear how many shots were fired before Tooley killed himself in the university’s main library.
Law professor Randall Wilhite saw the gunman running down the street with an assault rifle and firing bullets randomly and with no apparent attempt to target scores of students making their way to class around 8am.
“I wasn’t sure it was real until I saw the bullets strike the ground to my left,” Wilhite told CNN.
“My first thought was maybe it was a game and I looked around for somebody else immediately,” Wilhite told CNN. “I couldn’t see anyone else involved.”
The shooter was tall, slim and was wearing a dark suit and tie. His face was covered with a ski mask, Wilhite said, adding that the suspect ran at a relaxed gait.
Student Andrew McWaters told KVUE-TV that the gunman “smiled at us and waved and ran right past us.”
Police scoured the campus for hours looking for a potential second suspect after receiving conflicting descriptions of the shooter.
The university used sirens, loudspeakers, text messages, e-mail alerts and its Web site to warn its nearly 50,000 students and thousands of staff members.
“The person involved in this morning’s shooting on campus has been confirmed dead on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the university said in a notice on its Web site.
“Law enforcement are searching for a second suspect. If you are off campus, STAY AWAY. If you are on campus, lock doors, do not leave your building,” the statement said.
Specialized police tanks and armored vehicles patrolled the sprawling campus. Bomb sniffing dogs were also searching the campus as a precaution, police told a press conference.