Police: College Station gunman had several weapons

Officer, gunman among 3 killed in shooting near A&M campus

Published On: Aug 30 2012 03:16:15 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 15 2012 06:56:44 AM CDT
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -

A gunman who fired numerous shots at officers and pedestrians near the Texas A&M University campus, killing two and wounding several others before he was killed, was armed with several weapons, College Station police said Tuesday.

The deadly shootout erupted Monday in the 200 block of Fidelity shortly after noon, about two blocks from the campus.

According to College Station police, Brazos County Precinct 1 Constable Brian Bachmann, 41, went to the home of Thomas Alton Caffall, 35, to serve forcible entry detainer, the last step in an eviction proceeding, and was shot. Police said they then received 911 calls about a shooting. Bachmann did not radio in for help, officials said.

Investigators said Caffall opened fire on Bachmann.

"From our investigation, Bachmann arrived on the scene shortly after noon. Either upon his approach to the house or shortly thereafter, it appears he was shot by the suspect in the front yard of that residence. Caffall then started to shoot at other victims in the area and College Station police officers as they approached the scene," College Station Police Chief Jeff Capps said.

Officers responding to the reports of an officer down saw Bachmann wounded on the ground in the front yard, then got into what police described as an extended shootout with Caffall.

"Upon their initial arrival, they started taking gunfire. They returned gunfire and that went on for several minutes, back and forth, and then officers were able to shoot the suspect," Capps said. "During the incident, Caffall fired multiple rounds. Investigators have recovered some long guns and pistols from his residence that were used in the assault."

Bachmann and Caffall were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Chris Northcliff, 51, a civilian from College Station, was the third person killed in the shootings at the off-campus home near the university's football stadium.

Three other law enforcement officers and Barbara Holdsworth, 51, of Houston, were wounded, College Station Assistant Police Chief Scott McCollum said.

Officer Justin Oehlke was wounded in the calf, police said. Two other officers -- Brad Smith and Phil Dorsett -- were treated for "shrapnel injuries" and released.

Holdsworth was in serious condition after undergoing surgery. Friends said the mother was helping her daughter move when the shooting started.

Police spokeswoman Rhonda Seaton said Northcliff and Holdsworth were outside when they were shot.

Caffall had no prior police record in College Station, authorities said. Officials did not say if Caffall had permits for his guns.

Investigators said they do not know if Bachmann had any warning that Caffall was armed. Police would not release if Bachmann was wearing a bulletproof vest.

"(Bachmann) was a pillar in this community," College Station Police Department Assistant Chief Scott McCollum said. "It's sad and tragic that we lost him today."

The entire gunfire exchange between Caffall and officers lasted about 30 minutes, detectives said.

"When I heard the first shots going out, I ducked down under my truck, in the floorboards, and I started counting shots," witness Will Hatheway said. "I wanted to make sure how many shots were fired because I know that detail is always required, and I wanted to help out the police."

Hatheway said he heard 30 shots that were fired from what sounded like a semiautomatic weapon.

Caffall's sister said Monday night the family was "shocked" by the violence.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and this is just a senseless tragedy," said Courtney Clark, Caffall's sister, reached Monday evening at her mother's home in Navasota, about 20 miles to the south. "We are just distraught by the havoc that he has caused."

She declined additional comment.

College Station police said they did not have any past trouble with Caffall.

A Code Maroon was issued at Texas A&M after the shooting. Police urged people to stay away from the area as they investigated four scenes hours after the shooting. Most of the university's 50,000 students were not on the campus about 90 miles northwest of Houston because the fall semester doesn't start until Aug. 27, university spokeswoman Sherylon Carroll said.

Police started to slowly reduce the size of their crime scene investigation allowing some residents to go home Tuesday night.

"I've not been allowed to come in here since yesterday," said Jimmie Vernon. 

She was away from her home for about 30 hours. She lives one house away from where Caffall lived. She was briefly allowed to come home, with a police escort and pick up her cat. 

"I was out of town this past weekend and I had planned to get back here at 12:15. I was delayed. I didn't get back until 1:30. So, I would have been right in my driveway here at 12:15 and one house over is where the fire fight was. I'm very glad that I was delayed."

Other residents briefly returned home Tuesday night, with a police escort, gathered belongings and left as officers continued their investigation.

Bachmann worked more than 19 years in law enforcement, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. He started out with the Hempstead Police Department before spending most of his career with the Brazos County Sheriff's Office. He had been a constable since January 2011, after winning election to the post the prior November.

In a February 2010 candidate profile in the Bryan-College Station Eagle, the married father of two said he wanted to bring "constables back to the community" by actively patrolling neighborhoods to discourage crime.

Constables are law enforcement officers similar to sheriff's deputies who are elected to serve in specific county precincts. They primarily serve warrants and official paperwork or act as courtroom bailiffs.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an A&M alumnus, said at an event in Florida that his "prayers are with any of those that have been injured." A&M President R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement calling Monday a "sad day in the Bryan-College Station community."

Photos: Shooting in College Station

Published On: Aug 30 2012 03:14:14 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 14 2012 11:19:47 AM CDT

A constable, a civilian and the suspect are killed and three others are wounded in a shooting near Texas A&M University.

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Thomas Caffall was identified as the gunman who opened fire on officers and bystanders, killing two.