April 10, 2021

Gunman leaves one dead, trooper and five others wounded in mass shooting in Bryan

BRYAN — A man armed with a pistol on Thursday killed one person and wounded…

BRYAN — A man armed with a pistol on Thursday killed one person and wounded five others at a cabinet production plant, sending workers scrambling for safety in what became the latest in a spate of mass shootings across the United States in recent weeks.

The suspected shooter was identified late Thursday as 27-year-old Larry Bollin of Grimes County. Bollin, who was charged with murder, also allegedly shot a pursuing Texas Department of Public Safety trooper while fleeing the scene. The trooper remained in serious but stable condition as of Thursday night. Bollin was arrested around 4:30 p.m. near Bedias, about 35 miles east of the original scene. The victims have not been identified.

This is at least the fourth mass shooting in the United States since March 16, when a gunman killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, at three spas or massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. The following week, on March 22, a shooter killed 10 shoppers at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. And Wednesday, a former NFL player died by suicide after killing five people, including a prominent doctor, in South Carolina.

The grim pattern continued around 2:30 p.m. at 350 Stone City Drive in Bryan, a city of about 85,000 located 100 miles northwest of downtown Houston and a short drive from Texas A&M University. Witnesses described a harrowing scene when the shooter entered a manufacturing plant for Bryan-based Kent Moore Cabinets, identified as the shooter’s employer.

One Kent Moore employee said the suspect appeared to be targeting specific people.

“I feel like he came with the intention of harming somebody from the very jump,” said Marc Barron, adding that the shooter was armed with a pistol. “He was just looking for the right person and the right time.”

Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske said in addition to the fatality, four people were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in critical condition with gunshots wounds. One person was transported with a minor injury to a College Station hospital, and another was hospitalized after a possible asthma attack, police said.

Buske said police do not believe there are other suspects.

Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske speaks to the media at the scene of a shooting at Kent Moore Cabinets on Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Bryan. At least one person is reported dead, and six people were hospitalized.

Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer

The Bryan Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety said the investigation is ongoing and have not released a possible motive.

“There are a lot of layers that we’re trying to unfold to make sure we get the answers we need,” said Texas DPS Lt. Craig Cummings. “That’s all a part of this ongoing investigation and the reason why we have multiple Texas Rangers there on the scene, working on this along with our criminal investigations division.”

In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said he is working with state law enforcement and will assist “in any way needed” to help prosecute the suspect.

“Cecilia and I are praying for the victims and their families and for the law enforcement officer injured while apprehending the suspect,” he said.

It’s unclear whether the suspect was a former or current employee of Kent Moore. The company issued a statement about the shooting but did not respond to a follow-up question about the shooter’s employment status.

“We are devastated by the events today at our Bryan manufacturing facility located on Stone City Drive,” the company said. “Our hearts go out to the families and the loved ones of those affected. We want to thank the many members of our law enforcement teams and other emergency personnel who responded so quickly. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement during the investigation of this horrible crime.”

The company added that its focus “is on providing support to and prayers for our employees and the extended Kent Moore Cabinets family during this tragic time.”

Marc Barron, who has worked at Kent Moore Cabinets for 2 years, walks away from the scene of a shooting at the business, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Bryan. At least one person is reported dead, and six people were hospitalized. Barron said he recognized the shooter as a fellow co-worker.

Marc Barron, who has worked at Kent Moore Cabinets for 2 years, walks away from the scene of a shooting at the business, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Bryan. At least one person is reported dead, and six people were hospitalized. Barron said he recognized the shooter as a fellow co-worker.

Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer

Founded in 1971 by Texas A&M University student Kent Moore, the company now employs nearly 600 people across Texas. It also has showrooms and sales offices in cities including Austin, Houston and Fort Worth, according to its website.

Two employees told reporters that they initially thought the loud banging noise was a falling cabinet. Alice Taylor, an employee of 26 years, said she did not think much of the sound until people around her said someone was firing a gun.

She rushed for cover and eventually fled the facility.

“Nothing like this (has) ever happened before,” she said. “It’s terrible.”

Barron, an employee of two years, had a closer brush with the gunman. He said he worked near the man on a regular basis. At one point during the shooting, Barron said he locked eyes with the man, whom he did not identify by name.

The man turned away and shot another person, he said.

“I never had a problem (with him), so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it,” he said, adding, “Nobody expects for stuff like this to happen, because you see them every day.”

Despite the fear among employees, they were quick to assist police with information, said Chief Buske.

“I certainly understand why they feel shaken,” Buske said. “But I appreciate all of the cooperation that we received from the employees.”