KINGSVILLE, Texas – A truckload of suspected illegal immigrants fled during a traffic stop near the Texas A&M University at Kingsville campus Wednesday, forcing a lockdown of the school for three hours as police chased them, officials said.
The driver of the truck and five illegal immigrants were taken to a Border Patrol station, agency spokesman Daniel Doty said. He did not know about any others who may have also fled the truck or the immigration status of the driver.
The truck driver said he had been forced at gunpoint to take the illegal immigrants to Kingsville, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Eric Hinojosa. University spokeswoman Jill Scoggins had said one person with a gun was taken into custody, but Doty said that had not been confirmed.
Scoggins said no one was hurt.
A state trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding, and about 12 people got out of the truck and fled, Hinojosa said.
"Everybody ran from the vehicle," DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange told The Associated Press. It wasn't immediately clear whether all the people who had run from the truck have been caught.
No one was allowed leave campus when the lockdown began, and students and staff were advised to stay inside buildings. Campus activities were canceled Wednesday night, but Scoggins said the school would return to its regular schedule Thursday.
School president Rumaldo Juarez said the safety of students, faculty and staff was the utmost concern.
"We took the appropriate measures that we needed. Our staff reacted the way we needed to react, the way we had rehearsed," said Juarez, who was on campus during the lockdown.
The school has an emergency e-mail alert and voice messaging system, Scoggins said.
A&M-Kingsville has enrollment of about 6,200 and 1,100 faculty and staff, on a campus located 40 miles southwest of Corpus Christi.