7 injured in shooting at college homecoming concert held in rural Texas pasture

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Seven people were shot and injured during a college homecoming party being held in a rural pasture northwest of Houston, sheriff's officials said Monday.

Four women, two men and a juvenile male sustained gunshot wounds late Sunday during what the Waller County, Texas, Sheriff's Office called a trail ride and "pasture party" held in conjunction with Prairie View A&M homecoming celebrations.

"All victims sustained gunshot wounds to their lower extremities with no known life-threatening injuries," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Authorities said an initial assessment indicated that "an unknown number of actors attending the party" got into a verbal dispute in which a gun was discharged "several times," striking seven bystanders.

Prairie View A&M officials said they are "both saddened and troubled by the senseless act of violence" in Waller County on Sunday, according to a statement issued to media outlets.

"Although this was not an official PVAMU homecoming event and was unaffiliated with the university, our campus community is deeply concerned for those injured and all affected by this incident," the school said.

Established safety protocols were not being followed the promoters or organizers of the event, authorities said, adding, "At this time the case is ongoing with detectives conducting follow-up/investigation on additional leads."

A woman who witnessed the shootings told KHOU-TV the event was billed by the promoters as the Prairie View Homecoming Trail Ride and Concert.

"I was front row," she said. "They were fighting. After they got done fighting a girl got shot."

Walker County Judge Trey Duhon confirmed the event had no official link to the college and was held pursuant to a "mass gathering" permit he granted on Oct. 26.

Such permits are specifically designed to address the growing popularity of concerts and events staged in rural pastures. Among its requirements were that 35 security personnel be present and that all attendees be searched and "wanded" for weapons as they entered the event, Duhon said in a Facebook post.

"Obviously the organizers failed to meet permit conditions on a number of issues, and an investigation is ongoing at this time, not only into the shooting itself, but the circumstances surrounding the event, the parking situation on public roads, the trash and litter, and the permit requirements that were not met," the judge said.