Courts & Crime

Man in custody after shots fired at Texas state capitol

AUSTIN — A man fired several shots on the south steps of the Texas Capitol Thursday but was quickly disarmed and apprehended by state troopers.

There were no injuries.

The suspect, identified as a 24-year-old Houston-area man, remained in custody and was undergoing questioning by officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"We were there. We were right on top of it," said Tela Mange, DPS spokeswoman. "We were very fortunate that nobody was injured in this incident."

Mange said the gunfire erupted about 12:15 p.m. while tourists milled around the Capitol grounds on a spring-like sunny day.

Denise Sanchez, 18, a work-study employee with the Travis County government, said she and two colleagues were walking toward the Capitol at lunch when she heard five gunshots.

"Plop, plop, plop, plop, plop," she said, describing the gunfire.

Sanchez said state troopers quickly converged on the man.

"There were state troopers everywhere," she said, explaining that she was unable to describe the man because he was smothered by lawmen. "They had him down."

Jill Magid, an artist from New York City, told The Associated Press she was just inside the front doors of the Capitol when the shots were fired. She ran out the doors in time to see troopers holding a man down on the ground.

"They were all over him," Magid said. "I could hear him saying, 'My hands are up.'"

Gov. Rick Perry was not in the building at the time, his office said, and many lawmakers were away from Austin on Thursday because the Legislature was not in session.

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