‘Highly agitated’ man armed with handguns, AK-47s stopped on Texas campus days after losing university job, police say

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Source: Lamar University/Facebook; Lamar University police

Mar. 31 2021, Published 7:07 p.m. ET

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A man is under arrest after he tailed an officer at a school in Texas and was caught with an arsenal of weapons in his vehicle, law enforcement officials said. 

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Around 9:15 p.m. March 29, Lamar University Police in Beaumont said a suspicious male was following one of the department’s officers in a white GMC pickup truck. 

The officer stopped the driver, Mark Edward Smith, 63, and noted he allegedly appeared to be intoxicated.

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 “The suspect was highly agitated, telling officers to shoot him at the scene,” police said of the suspect, who allegedly had a bag of loose ammunition and seven loaded firearms — five handguns and two AK-47 rifles — “within his immediate reach.”

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Authorities took the suspect into custody and transported him to a local hospital for a medical check before booking him into the Jefferson County Correctional Facility.

School spokesperson Shelly Vitanza told KBMT that university police “followed procedures and were able to subdue this individual immediately before anything escalated.”

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The incident followed a March 26 incident in which police were called to Smith’s home in Nederland for reasons the city’s police chief Gary Porter did not disclose, the news station reported. 

Smith worked for Lamar University as an HVAC controls mechanic from May 2016 until he was terminated for a “personnel matter” on March 22, three days after he was suspended from his job, Vitanza said. 

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The suspect is accused of driving while intoxicated, unlawfully carrying a weapon, failure to identify, and resisting arrest.

He is being held on a $4,400 bond, online records show. 

Police issued a criminal trespass warning against Smith and advised Lamar University staff and students to contact authorities if they see him on school property.

“With everything that's been going on around the country, I've kind of prepared myself for something like this or like what I would do,” student Alexis David told KBMT. “So, it was more of a shock and surprise like it was hitting home for us.”

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