HOUSTON - The original man charged in the shooting at Lone Star College's North Harris campus was released from jail Monday after charges against him were dropped.
Carlton Berry, 22, had been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. On Monday, prosecutors said those charges had been dropped.
A second man, the accused gunman, Trey Foster, 22, is facing two counts of aggravated assault. He was arrested in Plano, Texas, on Friday. Community activist Quanell X said Foster told him that Berry was not involved in the shooting.
Harris County sheriff's deputies said the shooting happened outside the library on the Lone Star College's North Harris campus, 2700 W. W. Thorne Drive near Aldine Westfield, at 12:19 p.m. Tuesday.
According to court records, Jody Neal, 25, bumped into Foster and they got into an argument. They parted ways, but 30 minutes later Foster, who was with Carlton Berry, 22, saw Neal again and they got into another argument, officials said.
Quanell X said he spoke to Foster after his arrest. He said Foster told him that he didn't want to shoot anybody, but Neal threw a punch at him and he opened fire to defend himself.
Relatives said Foster purchased the gun at Gander Mountain in Spring. He began taking courses to legally carry a gun, but did not finish them. However, Foster has a criminal history that includes charges of resisting arrest and possession of a prohibited weapon, which should have prevented him from purchasing a gun.
Quanell X said Gander Mountain should be held at least partially responsible for the shooting.
"Gander Mountain never should have done what they did, sold the brother a gun. He is a victim of a previous shooting where he was shot in the face, and he bought this gun for self defense, but because what was on his criminal history he was ineligible to purchase a firearm," Quanell X said.
Gander Mountain released a statement Monday regarding the matter: "Gander Mountain operates in strict compliance with all local, state and federal laws regarding firearms ownership and fully cooperates with law enforcement."
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said Monday his investigators are still checking to see whether the gun was sold illegally.
Relatives said Foster had been receiving threatening messages and snapped when the confrontation with Neal began.
Quanell X said Foster told him that he had never met Neal before. Sources told KPRC Local 2 that Foster and Neal have police-documented affiliations with the Bloods gang.
Neal suffered gunshot wounds to his abdomen and leg. According to court records, Neal originally identified Berry as his shooter but later said he made a mistake and that Foster pulled the trigger.
"The weapon is 40-caliber, 40-caliber casings were recovered at the scene," Harris County Assistant District Attorney Allison Baimbridge said.
A maintenance man, Bobby Cliburn, was nearby when the shooting occurred and was wounded in the leg. He was released from a hospital on Wednesday. According to Quanell X, Foster said he was sorry that Cliburn was wounded.
Berry was also shot in the leg.
"Broke my femur bone," Berry said. "I'm just trying to recover, that's all."
Quanell X said Foster told him that Berry did not fire any shots and that Berry did not know he had a gun.
"It's going to be difficult to show this is a prototypical wrongful arrest," KPRC Local 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said. "I think that he is due an apology from law enforcement. Beyond that, he ought to be thankful he was ultimately cleared."
Foster is being held in the Harris County Jail with bond set at $100,000.
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