Shooting suspect arraigned; 1 officer released from hospital — (Houston Chronicle)

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Houston Chronicle

SEPTEMBER 20, 1992

Author: LISA TEACHEY, RUTH PILLER; Staff, Associated Press

One of two officers shot at Piney Point Elementary School Friday was released from Ben Taub Hospital Saturday, while the alleged gunman was arraigned on attempted capital murder charges.

Bond was set at $90,000 for Calvin Charles Bell, 44, on two charges of attempted capital murder and three aggravated assault charges Saturday, a day after he opened fire at the southwest Houston school. He remained in the Harris County jail.

Officer David E. Dungan, 36, who was wounded in the right shoulder, was released from the hospital. Officer Lowell Neinast, 29, who used his body to shield a group of youngsters and was shot in the hip and shoulder, remained hospitalized at Ben Taub in fair condition Saturday.

The shooting began shortly before 8 a.m. Friday, after Bell, reportedly upset about his second-grader’s progress report, appeared in the principal’s office of the school at Fondren and Pagewood. Bell fired at least one shot from a 9mm pistol into the office wall, missing two workers.

After 13 more shots were fired, wounding the two officers and sending panic through the school, Bell surrendered.

Saturday, a teacher’s aide who may have been a target of the shooting, said he is considering filing a lawsuit against Bell.

“But then I stop and think, this isn’t a bad guy. He just cracked. If it was because of medication, I don’t want to complicate his life any more,” said William Larotta, 26, a teacher’s aide at Piney Point for 1 1/2 years.

Relatives told police on Friday that Bell was an unemployed Vietnam veteran and had been taking anti-depressants.

Besides a 9mm pistol, Bell carried a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a hunting knife, a can of Mace, and three spare clips of ammunition, police said.

Larotta said he saw Bell, whom he recognized from school events, running into the school with a gun. Larotta ran and saw Neinast.

“That’s him behind me. He’s coming up behind me,” Larotta said he told Neinast. Larotta said he continued to run and saw Neinast pull out his gun and tell Bell to drop his gun.

Larotta said he then saw Bell shoot Neinast and run toward the library.

“Another teacher saw me running and then he saw the suspect running up behind me. The other teacher took off running in front of me, and that’s when we heard the shots.

“We turned the corner, and from that point on I can’t tell you what happened. I was just busy getting all the children out of the building.”

Larotta said when he came back into the building, there were three bullet holes in the library door.

“One of the policemen showed me the holes in the library and I said, `These must have been aimed at me.’ And he said, `You’re right.’ ”

Memo:  Houston Chronicle reporter Ruth Piller and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Record Number:  09*20*1082117