Shooting on Fla. campus may have been self-defense

8:24 PM, Jan 30, 2014   |    comments
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(USA Today) PALM BAY, Fla. - A man in his 20s was in fair condition Thursday after he was shot in a fight on the Palm Bay campus of Eastern Florida State College, authorities say.

STORY: Shooting at Eastern Florida State College in Palm Bay

The shooter, whom two men were beating, was treated and released from an area hospital, according to spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez of Palm Bay Police.

The incident happened about 1:50 p.m. ET when the man being beaten was able to retreat to his car to grab a gun, Martinez said. As the beating continued, he fired his gun, striking one of his attackers, Amado Contreras, 25, in the chest.

Contreras' injury is not life threatening, police say.

The shooter, Landrick Hamilton, 24, is a student at the school, which has about 35,000 students on four campuses across Brevard County. Palm Bay is a city of more than 100,000 residents about 90 miles south of Daytona Beach, Fla., on the Atlantic coast.

Authorities are considering self-defense as a possible defense for Hamilton, said Chief Doug Muldoon of Palm Bay Police. Officers also are questioning the third man, Landyer Contreras, 24. All three are cooperating with police and say they were fighting in self-defense.

Witness statements and evidence will be sent to the state attorney's office to determine if a crime occurred, police say.

The shooting comes almost eight weeks after a Florida appeals court struck down a regulation on another state university campus that banned students from storing guns in their cars. Florida law prevents anyone from possessing or exhibiting guns on school campuses, including university and college campuses; however, the same law says the ban doesn't apply to guns in cars.

After Thursday's shooting, the Palm Bay campus was on lockdown for about an hour. All classes were canceled there for the rest of the day.

The incident was the third campus shooting across the USA in less than two weeks:

• On Jan. 21, Andrew Boldt, 21, of West Bend, Wis., died after being stabbed and shot in a basement electrical engineering classroom at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. A fellow student and teaching assistant, Cody Cousins, 23, of Centerville, Ohio, is accused in Boldt's death and was charged with murder after surrendering to police.

• On Friday, Brandon Robinson, 20, of Orangeburg, S.C., died after being shot outside a dormitory at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. Fellow student Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, of Charleston, S.C., was taken into custody early Saturday and charged with murder.

Also, on Saturday, Darion Aguilar, 19, of College Park, Md., shot two employees - Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy, Md. - at a Zumiez skate gear store at Columbia Mall in Maryland before killing himself.

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