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Victoria College students roam campus worry-free after shooting

By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 22, 2011 at 4:22 a.m.

A Victoria College maintenance worker sweeps away shards of glass from a ceiling light cover that was damaged during Wednesday afternoon's campus shooting.

A leaf blower droned in the distance as students walked carefree Thursday morning on the Victoria College campus.

The scene is that of a typical community college campus; a far cry from Wednesday, when chaos ensued after shots rang out inside the college's sports and fitness center.

"It's business as usual," said campus Police Chief Matt Williams. "There is peace of mind."

The college and the University of Houston-Victoria were on lockdown and high alert for about an hour until the suspected shooter was arrested and the campus was secured.

Campus police presence was evident Thursday.

Williams said he believes this increased presence helps ease any high tension for students nervous over Wednesday's incident.

"I think the college did a great job communicating the message," Williams said.

Shelby Rodgers, a psychology major, sat at a table in the athletic department with two friends and watched as a maintenance crew swept up shards of shattered ceiling light.

Rodgers was not on campus when the shooting occurred, but sitting close to where the altercation happened was somewhat surreal.

"You wouldn't think this would happen here," she said.

"Yeah," chimed in her friend Amber Kisiah. "Victoria College is much smaller than, say, Virginia Tech."

Still, both students felt safe not even 24 hours after the shooting.

Teresa Bates, a nursing major, walked through the college's student center on her way to class.

She, too, was not on campus when the shooting occurred.

"It does make me a little bit nervous," she said.

The center, closed after Wednesday's shooting, was reopened Thursday. However, crime scene tape still squared off the small area where the shooting took place.

The college is looking into how much damage the ceiling sustained and when it will be fixed.

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