Six people were shot Wednesday night, none fatally, on the Texas Southern University campus during an event recognizing a Houston area rapper, school and police officials said.
University spokeswoman Eva Pickens said university officials were told that the shootings, which occurred at about 8:30 p.m. at Cleburne and Tierwester, near the East Garage, were gang-related.
At least one of the people shot attended TSU, she said, adding that none of the injuries were life-threatening. The student was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center. His name was not available Wednesday night.
Five others were taken to Ben Taub General Hospital.
Pickens said university police, who are investigating, reported that the shooting involved a Missouri City-Fresno gang rivalry.
Angela Anderson, another spokeswoman, declined to elaborate about how the TSU officers came to that conclusion. "It’s an ongoing investigation," she said late Wednesday.
Peter Role, a local music promoter who was at the event, said he heard what he said sounded "like the Fourth of July" in the parking lot.
"We heard some gunshots and everybody was hitting the ground," he said. He doesn’t know exactly what happened, but apparently a round hit a tire of his Lexus. TSU police removed the tire for inspection.
He called the shooting "an unfortunate incident. This is an isolated incident, hopefully it won’t happen again."
Tangela DeBoest, who was visiting her mother at a nearby apartment complex, said she saw a car drive onto Tierwester from Alabama and open fire into the crowd.
Promotional materials advertised the event as a free family block party in celebration of the second "Trae Day," featuring live performances, train rides, pony rides, face painting and moonwalks as well as testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and free school supplies.
The event followed a similar event last year meant to celebrate the work of rapper Frazier Thompson III — better known by stage name Trae — with at-risk youth in Houston. Thompson was officially honored by the City Council for that work on July 22, 2008, which they proclaimed "Trae Day."
The event was scheduled for 3-9 p.m., in the parking lot of the TSU stadium. The rapper was scheduled to be joined by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and City Council members Peter Brown and Ron Green, as well as numerous music and sports celebrities, including former Houston Rocket Ron Artest and free agent guard Von Wafer.
Nancy Byron, Trae’s publicist, said the rapper and his entourage had already left the event at 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. and did not see the shooting.
"Honestly we’re hearing so many different accounts, none of us are really sure what happened," Byron said. "We heard some people got hurt. We’re very depressed about it and we feel like it’s a black eye on an otherwise very community-driven event."
Byron said the shooting did not have anything to do with Trae or anyone affiliated with him. "This is something that happened with random people who attended the event," she said.
Brown was at the event earlier in the day.
"My prayers are with the victims of tonight’s tragic events and their families," Brown said in a statement.