Woman kills students, self at La. college

Published 12:01 am Saturday, February 9, 2008

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A 23-year-old woman killed two fellow students with a .357 revolver in a classroom at a vocational college Friday, then committed suicide, police said.

The women apparently were shot in their seats in the second-floor classroom at Louisiana Technical College, Baton Rouge Sgt. Don Kelly said. About 20 people were in the emergency medical technology class at the time, he said.

Police identified the victims as Karsheika Graves, 21, and Taneshia Butler, 26.

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‘‘Why those two women were targeted … is still an unanswered question,’’ Kelly said.

Police did not release the shooter’s name because her relatives had not been contacted.

The shooter entered the room briefly, spoke with the instructor and left, he said.

She returned through another door and fired six rounds, Kelly said, reloaded and shot herself in the head.

Officers ran into the building within four minutes of the first 911 call, which came at 8:36 a.m., Kelly said.

‘‘There was mass pandemonium, people running,’’ he said. ‘‘One officer — the first into the classroom — told me he could still smell gunpowder.’’

The school — one of two LTC campuses in Baton Rouge and dozens around the state — offers classes in a dozen subjects including early childhood education, practical nursing, drafting and welding.

School administrators and campus police did not immediately return calls or e-mails.

Louis Davis, who said he was taking an automobile technology class Friday morning, said a teacher told the students to stay in class because there had been an incident, without adding details. Students had to stay in their classrooms for about two hours and were briefly questioned by police before being released for the day, he said.

Classes were canceled through Tuesday, and tentatively scheduled to resume Wednesday, said Jim Henderson, vice president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

‘‘This is a tragic day for Baton Rouge, when you come to a learning institution … and become the victim of a violent crime,’’ Mayor Kip Holden said at the scene.

In Greenville, S.C., a student was shot in the leg at Greenville Technical College, but told police it was a self-inflicted accident, a campus official said. The wound was not life-threatening, said Brad Majors, the college marketing director. Majors said campus police and city police would continue to investigate.