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TribBlog: Perry Commends DPS Troopers Who Nabbed Capitol Shooter

A man entered Sen. Dan Patrick's office, then fired shots outside the Capitol. No injuries have been reported.

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Three or four shots were fired outside the State Capitol on the South Steps at 12:15 p.m., according to Capitol officials.

The blog LaVida Studios has photographs of the Department of Public Safety  apprehending the suspect. DPS apprehended the man shortly after he fired, and the man gave his name as Fausto Cardenas, although the Travis County Sheriff's Office has yet to confirm that identity. The office is currently booking the man.

“I commend the Texas Department of Public Safety troopers who responded swiftly to a shooter on the South Steps of the State Capitol," Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. "Thanks to their efforts no one was injured and the shooter was apprehended immediately and taken in to custody.”

An official in the Governor's Office said the shooter entered the Governor's Business Office on the first floor and looked around.

The man was also spotted behaving strangely in the office of Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Logan Spence, a spokesman for Patrick, said the man, who was about 20 years old and spoke broken English, walked into Patrick's Capitol office and asked to speak to “the woman in the white shirt.” Apparently, Spence said, the visitor had seen another Patrick staffer in the hall and had followed her into the office.

According to messages on Patrick's Facebook page, the staff called security.

"He was acting in a way that made my staff concerned," writes Patrick on the Facebook page.

The visitor, who Spence said was “nervous and uncomfortable,” repeatedly asked to speak to the female staffer in private. When she wouldn’t go with him, he left the office — and shots were fired moments later.

“He was definitely not a constituent,” Spence said. “I don’t think he was targeting our office.”

“Several of us in the past have called for added security measures at the Capitol," Patrick told the Tribune. "Today’s event recalls the fact that we need to reevaluate people's access freely into our building.  Currently, anyone can walk in at anytime.  That’s not a safe situation.  If it turns out indeed that the person who came into our office was also the person arrested, then my staff was in danger.”

There are no reported injuries, but DPS officials are going through the building to ensure everyone is safe. There's no word on a possible motive, or whether the suspect was aiming at particular individuals.

DPS spokeswoman Lisa Block says the crime scene is secure. The Capitol Grounds remain on lockdown; however employees may come and go in the building, according to emails to House employees. No one parked in the drive may leave and everyone must keep their identification badges visible.

Here are the emails:

________________________________
From: House Information
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 12:48 PM
To: House; O0665
Subject: Capitol Lockdown

The Capitol is currently on Lockdown so please stay in your office and lock your door until further notice.

 

________________________________
From: House Administration
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 2:03 PM
To: House;
Subject: Update - Employees with Valid State ID May Now Enter

Employees with valid State ID are now cleared to enter the building, including the parking garage.  There was some confusion as to why the Senate sent out an email earlier stating that the lock down had been lifted, which was only true for the interior of the building.  The perimeter was still under lock down at the time.

Again, the building is no longer being kept on lock down.  The Capitol Grounds are still on lockdown, and at this time no one parked on the drive is being allowed to leave.

You may now enter and exit the Capitol Building on foot at all entrances except the south entrance.  Please keep your ID with you and be prepared to produce it.  State ID's are mandatory at this time.  If you are an employee, you must wear your ID Badge visibly, and you may still be questioned.  We ask for your full cooperation as DPS moves forward with the ongoing investigation. More updates will come as we receive more information.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

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