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Masked student goes on gun rampage

A student wearing a dark suit and a ski mask ran amok with an assault rifle on the University of Texas campus before fleeing into a library and shooting himself dead.

The shooting began near a fountain in front of the UT Tower - the site of one of America's deadliest shooting rampages more than 40 years ago, when a gunman climbed the clock tower and fired on dozens of people, killing 16.

Within hours of Tuesday's gunfire, the school issued an all-clear notice, but the university remained closed and the area around the library was considered a crime scene.

Authorities identified the gunman as 19-year-old Colton Tooley, a sophomore maths student. Police would not speculate on his motive.

A man who said he was a relative of the family and identified himself only as Marcus came out of Tooley's parents' home and said they were distraught.

"I want you to understand how he lived. He was a very smart guy, very intelligent, excellent student. He wouldn't or couldn't hurt a fly," he said, reading from a prepared statement. "This is a great shock to me and my family. There was nothing prior to this day, nothing that would lead any of us to believe this could take place."

Tooley's high school principal in Austin described him as an excellent student in every subject. "All of us in the Crockett High School community are shocked and saddened by the tragedy at the University of Texas," said Craig Shapiro.

Mr Shapiro said Tooley, a 2009 graduate, was remembered by teachers as being "brilliant", "meticulous" and "respectful".

Police went in and out of his family's home in a middle-class Austin neighbourhood on Tuesday night, carrying bags and boxes. There was no immediate word on what was in the containers. A neighbour said police arrived at the home about three hours after the campus shooting.

The 50,000-student university had been on lockdown while officers with bomb-sniffing dogs carried out a building-by-building manhunt. After the gunfire, authorities searched the campus for a possible second shooter, but eventually concluded Tooley acted alone. No-one was hurt during the rampage.

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