UPDATE: Victims Identified in Commerce Campus Shooting

21 hours ago

UPDATE: The Texas A&M University-Commerce Police Department has confirmed the identities of the two deceased. The first victim is 19-year-old Deja Matts. Deja was a freshman at A&M-Commerce and was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She was from Garland, Texas. The second victim is 20-year-old Abbaney Matts, sister of Deja. Abbaney was not an enrolled student at A&M-Commerce.

The third victim, two-year-old son of Abbaney Matts, was treated and released to the care of family members. 

Deja Matts, 19-year-old freshman at A&M-Commerce, who was killed Monday, February 3rd.
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  According to the University Police Department, the shooting appears to be a targeted, isolated event. This remains an active investigation with multiple law enforcement agencies assisting. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Two women are dead and a child was wounded as a result of a shooting at a Texas A&M University-Commerce dormitory Monday morning. As of late morning Tuesday, the names of the victims have not been released.

Earlier Story: University police chief Bryan Vaughn said at a Monday afternoon press conference that the child is about two years old and was in stable condition at an area hospital. University officials did not answer questions at the news conference and did not confirm whether one or both of the adult victims were students.

Police said that at 10:17 a.m. on Monday, a student called from Pride Rock Residence Hall, a freshman dorm located on the southwest side of campus. At 11:27 a.m., a university alert advised students, faculty and staff to “shelter in place” because of an active police investigation at Pride Rock. At 11:43 a.m., a second notice announced that Monday’s classes had been cancelled and repeated the call to shelter in place, with a suggestion that students without a place to go could go to the Sam Rayburn Student Center. At 12:51 p.m., a third notice stated that three gunshot victims had been found and two of them were dead. At 1:25 p.m., a fourth notice said that the shelter-in-place recommendation had been lifted.

Abbaney Matts, another victim of the shooting on Monday in Commerce, TX.
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University president Dr. Mark Rudin and Vaughn addressed the media at a 3:30 p.m. press conference held on University Drive near the campus main entrance. At 4:02 p.m., the university announced that Tuesday and Wednesday classes had been cancelled, but that university offices and services would continue to operate on a normal schedule.

Pride Rock Residence Hall was re-opened at 10:15 p.m. Monday night.

"Since this is an active investigation multiple law enforcement agencies are still conducting, we cannot speak further to the specific circumstances surrounding this isolated incident at this time," Rudin said in a statement sent out by email at 10:03 p.m. Monday. "We assure you that we are taking measures to ensure your continued safety on campus and to provide services and support to you all."

The statement also mentioned that university police patrols have been increased and the university's Counseling Center has expanded its services being offered. Professional counselors are available in the Halladay Student Services Building on campus or by telephone at (903) 886-5145.

The incident follows a late October shooting in nearby Greenville at a party attended by many students from the university. Two Dallas men were killed and a dozen others, half of whom were A&M-Commerce students, were wounded by an unknown gunman at a private party rental facility just west of the Greenville city limits. Texas A&M-Commerce student Jack Simonek said Monday’s news reminded many of last semester’s shooting.

“I think people were taking it very serious from the very first email because… because of the Greenville incident. That’s still in our minds. People are still grieving for that. So when that first email came out, that was probably their first thought.”

The university does allow handguns in residence halls. University policy says that students wanting to store a handgun in a dorm must provide a safe to which only they have access. The policy is compliant with the state’s Concealed Campus Carry law, which went into effect in 2016. 

This is a developing story and is being updated as new information becomes available. Jerrod Knight contributed to this report.