Two people are dead and 12 others were injured when a person, who remains at-large, opened fire Saturday night into a crowd of hundreds attending a party in Greenville, east of Dallas.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said Sunday morning that two people were fatally shot when a gunman entered The Party Venue on Saturday night and opened fire with a 9mm handgun. The private event space west of Greenville was hosting more than 750 people who gathered, some of them to celebrate during Texas A&M University at Commerce's homecoming weekend.
The identities of the two people who were killed have not been officially released, however, family members of the two victims identified them to NBC 5 as Byron Craven Jr. and Kevin Berry.
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A total of 14 people were injured or killed in the shooting and the commotion that followed. Eight of those people were shot, two fatally, and the remainder had cuts and bruises from trying to escape, Hunt County Sgt. Jeff Haines said.
"It was utter chaos," Haines said.
The injured people were transported to area hospitals.
Five victims, ranging from 19 to 21 years old were being treated at Medical City Healthcare facilities. Four victims were at Medical City Plano.
A hospital spokeswoman said two were listed in critical condition. Two others were in good condition.
One patient was taken to Medical City Denton and was listed in critical condition.
Witnesses Chauntel Vital and Cherise Sierra said they heard about the party on social media and drove to Greenville from Fort Worth.
"It was like pop, pop, pop. It was like four shots," Vital said.
"I could hear, like, windows breaking and people screaming for their lives," Sierra said.
In a written statement, Texas A&M Commerce President Mark Rudin said that four of the school's current students were treated and released from local hospitals. The extent of their injuries was not clear.
Sophomore Darrick Childs said he originally planned to attend the party, but decided not to go.
"One of my friends I know for sure that got hit, so I'm worried about her, but I'll see her when she gets back," Childs said. "Everybody is feeling the same thing right now. We're confused and we don't know why it happened. We don't know what happened."
Others on campus asked similar questions. Some students, like freshman Richard Almazan, woke up to the news in the middle of the night.
"My RA came and knocked on my door. I think it was like 3 a.m., and he was knocking like, 'I just want to make sure you're OK,'" Almazan said. "He was knocking on other people's doors to make sure they were OK."
Chief Deputy Buddy Oxford with the Hunt County Sheriff's Department said at a news conference early Sunday morning that the shooter is at-large, his identity is unknown and that no motive is known for the shooting.
He added that a description was also not yet available and that witnesses are "not being cooperative," saying they didn't see anything.
Meeks said it "appalls me" that with so many witnesses, there is not a better description of the shooter, and the sheriff encouraged people to come forward with information.
"Extremely difficult," Haines said. "If we don't have a witness who can tell us who the person is, we don't know where the investigation needs to go."
Oxford said deputies were called to the venue at about 11:30 p.m. after learning cars were being illegally parked along Highway 380. After about 15 minutes, deputies began hearing gunshots and called for assistance.
Meeks and Oxford both said in separate news conferences the scene was chaotic as hundreds of people began running from the building, making it difficult for deputies to determine where the shots were coming from and to locate the shooter.
"When shots were fired it was complete chaos as people fled for safety and deputies attempted to locate the shooter," Meeks said.
A patrol sergeant who had responded to the scene saw someone with life-threatening injuries, loaded the person into his vehicle and took the person to the hospital. Another deputy on scene triaged the injured, Meeks said.
Graphic video posted online showed several people unresponsive on the ground and bleeding, some receiving CPR, while other people can be heard screaming in the background.
"I'm looking for the first exit. That's all I saw," one witness told NBC 5. "I went straight for the window and hopped out the window."
One of the attendees told NBC 5 he was inside when the shooting began. He said he fell to the floor, got up an ran before exiting out a window. He said he must have been very close to what happened because he had a lot of blood on his clothes.
When the shooting subsided, officials said deputies found two people dead inside and a dozen others wounded; the gunman was nowhere to be found.
"We were here, like, coming to celebrate something and then something like this happens," witness Sierra Vital said. "I guess this is just the world that we live in now, so it kind of hurts."
Those injured in the shooting were from Fort Worth, Arlington, Cedar Hill, Dallas, Commerce and Greenville, according to Oxford. The victims were taken to hospitals in Greenville, Quinlan, Commerce, Lake Point and Rowlett. Three people were airlifted from the scene to Plano Medical City Hospital.
Texas A&M University Commerce Police tweeted early Sunday morning there was no active shooter situation on campus, which is about 18 miles away from the party location, and that "there was an event outside Greenville that may or may not have involved students at this time."
The school later confirmed that four of its students were treated and released from area hospitals; the school did not confirm if the two people killed were students.
The party was not thought to be a sanctioned homecoming event. Officials said a uniformed, off-duty Farmersville ISD officer provided security at the party.
The officer was at the front of the building when the shooting started, Meeks said.
He said Sunday morning that officials think the shooter may have entered through the back door and may have targeted one victim before firing at random.
"The overcrowdedness of it gave the opportunity to this shooter to accomplish whatever he wanted to accomplish," the sheriff said.
Texas A&M Commerce is expected to hold classes Monday on a regular schedule. Walk-in counseling services will be available to all students at the counseling center at the Halladay Student Services Building.
Greenville is in Hunt County, about 40 miles northeast of Dallas.
NBC 5's Claire Cardona, Candace Sweat, Ben Russell, Diana Zoga, Yona Gavino, Lili Zheng and Noelle Walker contributed to this report.