El Campo and Wharton County Texas A&M University alumni are joining the families of the victims at the Commerce campus shooting Monday.
At Commerce, north of Dallas, two women, one a student, were killed and a young boy injured Monday.
The bodies of freshman Deja Matts, 19, and her sister Abbaney Matts, 20, were discovered at co-ed dorm Pride Rock Residence Hall along with Abbaney’s two-year-old son, who was injured. University police were responding to a call from a student inside the building at 10:17 a.m.
Abbaney’s son was taken to a local hospital, treated and released to family.
After hearing of the shooting at a TAMU campus, El Campo farmer AJ Kresta worried about the safety of his niece and nephew, who attend TAMU in College Station. He later found out the shooting occurred in Commerce.
“I was relieved that my family is safe, but very, very upset that something so tragic happened to such young, promising people on campus where they should feel safe,” Kresta said.
No other threats have been identified on campus.
“It’s even sadder when it comes to the A&M community, because we’re all so close,” United Ag General Manager Jimmy Roppolo said. “Even though Commerce is not in College Station, it’s still Aggies.”
Monday morning, campus officials instructed students and faculty to stay inside and take shelter. The cautionary procedure was lifted after about 90 minutes, but classes are canceled until today.
TAMU-Commerce Police Chief Bryan Vaughn did not identify any suspects or a motive for the shooting.
I’m “praying for the families, and hopefully they find the perpetrator,” Kresta said.
Since 1898, TAMU in College Station has honored deceased students at a monthly vigil dubbed Silver Taps, where flags are flown at half-mast throughout the day and a quiet, candle-lit ceremony is held at night where the Ross Volunteer Company marches and plays a unique version of taps.
Roppolo recalled attending Silver Taps ceremonies during his time at TAMU.
“There’s not hardly a whisper anywhere,” Roppolo said. “Every light on campus is out ... It’s very powerful. It’s very earth-moving.”
University officials from TAMU in College Station said Silver Taps services at their campus are held for students at that campus. TAMU-Commerce officials did not respond to the Leader-News as of presstime.
Less than four months ago, an off-campus shooting killed two and injured 12 attending a Greenville Halloween and homecoming party near the university. Over 750 attended the event, which was not school-sanctioned.
TAMU-Commerce’s campus is about 65 miles northeast from Dallas. About 10,000 students currently attend, according to Texas Tribune.