Politics & Government

Texas capitol's security: No metal detectors, but guns allowed

AUSTIN — A Texas state senator called for toughened security at the state Capitol on Thursday after a man fired several shots outside the center of state government before being quickly subdued by state troopers.

No one was injured, but the midday incident prompted a temporary lockdown of the 122-year-old building as law enforcement officers searched floor by floor for possible accomplices.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the suspect as Fausto Cardenas, 24, of the Houston area. He was arrested on suspicion of deadly conduct, a third-degree felony that carries two to 10 years in prison.

The man entered the office of Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, on the third floor of the Capitol, then went outside and fired several shots from the south steps, according to investigators and witnesses. He was captured immediately as dozens of troopers converged on the Capitol grounds.

"I think this underscores our need to seriously re-evaluate security measures at the Capitol," Patrick said. "A number of legislators are concerned about this."

"Today, we got a warning shot — literally," he added. "This could have been a tragedy."

Unlike federal office buildings, the Capitol has no metal detectors to screen visitors as they enter, although DPS officers are deployed throughout the building. During the 2009 Legislature, X-ray machines were used to screen visitors to the House and Senate galleries.

Capitol visitors can legally carry concealed handguns into the building if they have a permit, according to the DPS.

Read more at Star-Telegram.com

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