One dead in Texas mass shooting -- on same day Biden released gun control executive orders

Bryan police are investigating the shootings of seven people, including a law enforcement officer, that started at Kent Moore Cabinets, where officials said someone opened fire Thursday afternoon, killing one person and shooting five others.

The Texas Department of Public Safety also said on Twitter that a DPS trooper was shot pursuing the suspect in the shooting. The officer is in serious, but stable condition.

One person shot at Kent Moore has died and four others shot there were taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to Bryan police chief Eric Buske. A fifth was shot but did not sustain critical injuries. A sixth person was taken to the hospital with asthma related issues.

Buske said the shooter is believed to be in custody and is an employee of the cabinet business.

There have been three mass shootings, generally defined as a shooting in which at least three people die, in America in less than a month, according to Mother Jones. Texas has experienced seven mass shootings since 2010.

Bryan police did not release information on a possible motive or how the shooter obtained a firearm.

Amelia Rodriguez, an employee interviewed on KBTX, said she heard a loud noise and thought it was a broken machine until a coworker grabbed her arm and told her to run.

Rodriguez said as she and her coworkers tried to run outside, they realized the shooter was already outside. She stayed inside with a small group and hid.

Thursday's shooting happened hours after Democratic President Joe Biden announced a slate of new gun control measures. The actions come after multiple mass shootings across the country in recent weeks, including a shooting at multiple massage parlors in Atlanta and a mass shooting that left 10 people dead at a grocery in Boulder, Co.

Biden directed the Department of Justice to create new rules that curb the proliferation of ghost guns, which are difficult to trace, and arm braces for pistols. He also told the department to write model red-flag legislation which allows a court to temporarily bar someone from accessing a gun in certain circumstances.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticized Biden over the measures, hours before the shootings in Bryan. Texas Republicans, who control state government, have long taken pride in the state's reputation as a bastion for gun ownership.

"Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights," Abbott tweeted. "He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns. We will NOT allow this in TX. It's time to get legislation making TX a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State passed and to my desk for signing."

Abbott's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his earlier tweet, but issued a statement saying he and his wife are praying for the victims.

"I have been working closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers as they assist local law enforcement on a swift response to this criminal act," Abbott said in a statement released by his office. "Their efforts led to the arrest of the shooting suspect. The state will assist in any way needed to help prosecute the suspect."

Slightly more than half of Texas registered voters in a 2019 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll said gun control laws should be stricter. A strong majority supported requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and most backed temporarily taking guns away from people deemed dangerous to themselves and others.

University to take away Wi-Fi access for students who miss coronavirus tests

Baylor University has started COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis for every student, faculty and staff member, with the help of a new lab on campus.

The weekly tests will be required — making it one of the strictest and most comprehensive COVID-19 enforcement policies among Texas colleges and universities. Those who don't comply could face penalties.

Students won't be able to participate in any co-curricular activities for the rest of the semester after two missed tests. If they miss three tests, they'll also lose Wi-Fi access on campus, with the goal of limiting student activity in campus buildings. After four missed tests, students could be suspended.

Students started getting tested this week as the spring semester began Tuesday.

The decision to require testing comes as Texas continues to grapple with the worst of the pandemic. Across the state, dozens of hospitals are reporting ICU beds have reached or are close to capacity.

University officials said they decided to institute weekly testing because students wanted more face-to-face interaction than the fall semester and officials wanted to make sure they could accommodate the request without increasing the risk of asymptomatic spread.

"Feedback, anecdotally, this week has been positive," said Sharra Hynes, vice president of student life at Baylor. "Students are just, 'OK. If it allows us to do more things together, let's just do this.'"

The university also included incentives such as restaurant vouchers and it will enter students into raffles for end-of-semester prizes.

Baylor partnered with a Dallas-based company, My Labs Direct, to build a lab on campus that can process self-administered nasal swab test results within 24 hours. Officials said they would be able to conduct up to 150,000 tests during the spring semester, processing up to 8,000 more daily tests. Officials would not share how much the multimillion-dollar lab and weekly testing cost.

The American College Health Association recommended colleges test students and employees twice a week for the spring semester and provide results in less than 48 hours. Baylor officials said they decided once a week was sufficient given other mitigation strategies, including mask requirements and social distancing.

Few universities have mandated campus testing. Most universities in Texas are simply encouraging testing among students returning to campus to take classes in-person or online.

But Rice University had already required weekly testing since the start of the academic year. Rice recently delayed the start of the spring semester by one week to Jan. 25 as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the Houston area. When students return, they will be required to get tested twice a week through at least Feb. 15. Then, they'll continue with once a week testing after that.

Rice and Baylor are private universities.

All students, faculty and staff were also required to have a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to campus at Baylor. The university also put a moratorium on all events until Feb. 7 to mitigate any spread as they anticipate a spike in cases at the start of the spring semester, similar to the fall semester. Some 44% of classes at Baylor are in person and 44% are online this semester. The rest are hybrid.

The University of Texas at Austin also pushed all hybrid classes fully online for the first two weeks of the semester. The aim was to space out the time in which students returned to campus to try and slow down the spread of the virus.

Disclosure: Baylor University, Rice University and University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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