Police Vehicles Vandalized by Suspects Shooting BB or Pellet Guns Near TWU Campus

A North Texas college campus is on high alert after a scary situation Wednesday morning in which someone started shooting BB rounds at a police cruiser.

It happened shortly before 5 a.m. on the campus of Texas Woman's University in Denton. Denton police suspect the damage was caused by a BB gun, although in a media release, officers note the damage could have also been caused by a pellet gun.

Police say the shooter was vandalizing student cars that were parked in the Lowry Woods Complex parking lot. Four cars had their windows shot out by the time police arrived.

A TWU police officer who responded first the scene also had his car vandalized by the suspects.

"All of a sudden he heard pinging noises on the car and a red laser pointed at him," said Chief Elizabeth Pauley, TWU's director of public safety. "It missed the window by an inch. And there are dents in the vehicle, maybe dime-size."

Then, police spotted "two or possibly three" people running away from the parking lot.

Denton police also responded to the scene. An officer was patrolling in his cruiser near campus looking for the criminals when someone shot out the rear window of his squad car.

Denton police estimate the damage to their vehicle at about $500.

Investigators have tracked down a person of interest, Denton police said Wednesday night, but no one's been charged with a crime.

"It makes us aware, more vigilant about patrolling," said Pauley. "If any student feels like you need an escort to your car, give us a call."

On Tuesday morning, 18 cars parked along Panhandle Street had their windows shot out from a BB or possibly pellet gun. Denton police are investigating if the two incidents are related.

The suspects have caused thousands of dollars in damage, but nobody has been hurt.

By Wednesday evening some TWU students were taking extra precautions.

"It's concerning, definitely. We definitely want to feel safe," said TWU sophomore Molly Garland. "They don't have regard for other people's safety, it seems."

Garland said she's keeping a firm grasp on the pepper spray she has on her key chain, and will walk through campus with a friend at night.

"I only have the pepper spray just in case," she explained. "I've never had to use it. But hopefully if there's a situation I can protect myself from a safe distance."

Students are worried the shooters could come back.

"It's a little scary because you don't know who did it," said sophomore Gabby Sheckelford. "I'm not going to be on my phone when I'm walking around and I'll try and be really observant."

TWU Police sent out an e-mail warning to all students, asking students to walk through campus at night in groups and to be aware of their surroundings.

Police are also are running more intensive campus patrols as the investigation continues.

"We'll just make sure to double-check – that if the officer patrols a parking lot one or two times, they'll now go through three or four times," said Chief Pauley.

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