Texas A&M-Commerce Shooting Suspect Charged With Additional Murder In Denton

Originally published on February 5, 2020 2:41 pm

The man arrested in Monday's shooting that killed two sisters on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus has also been charged with the New Year's Eve murder of a man in Denton. 

Police said 21-year old Jacques Smith is one of three suspects now charged in the murder of Steven Daniels. 

Authorities recovered evidence related to Daniels' murder at Smith's Rowlett home while executing a search warrant obtained in relation to the Matts sisters murders.

Smith is believed to be the ex-boyfriend of one of the Texas A&M-Commerce victims, Abbaney Matts, and is not a student at the university. Tuesday, he was charged with capital murder for the deaths of Abbaney Matts, 20, and her sister Deja Matts, 19. 

A freshman at the university, Deja Matts was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, university officials said a statement. Her sister was not a student at the school.  The third victim, the two-year-old son of Abbaney Matts, was treated at an area hospital and released to the care of family members, they said. 

University police described the shooting as "a targeted, isolated event."

At 10:17 a.m. Monday, police found the women's bodies and the wounded toddler after responding to a 911 call from a student at Pride Rock Residence Hall. 

Texas A&M-Commerce student Jack Simonek said when he first received the alert from university police, he expected a less severe incident had happened — like a tire slashing. He was dismayed to hear that there had been a shooting involving a toddler. 

"It's a 2-year-old. Why?" Simonek said, his voice trailing. He choked up. 

Classes were cancelled through Wednesday and were scheduled to resume Thursday. 

University president Mark Rudin and the university police department held a press conference Monday afternoon.  

Video: Watch press conference via WFAA-TV

Rudin said the campus is open, but Pride Rock and other areas near the crime scene will remain closed until the investigation is finished. 

"Our hearts go out to anyone in the community who has been impacted by this tragedy," Rudin said. "The health and safety of our students is always out top priority. Professional counselors are available in the Rayburn Student Center for anyone who needs assistance in coping with this situation."

Shari LePage Stout, the mother of a third-year Texas A&M Commerce student, said her family was in shock after the incident. 

"Everybody talks about gun laws and gun control but who do you blame," she said. "You may think as a parent sending your child to school you have nothing to worry about. But I guess I was wrong."

LePage Stout said she wondered what was going through the shooter's mind.

"Sometimes I think there's too much hatred in the world and if this person got caught up in it," she said. 

Shelter and counselors were being provided to students at Rayburn Student Center. 

Pride Rock is a three-story residence hall for freshmen. 

"I came in today thinking it's going to be a regular, boring old Monday, thinking I'd work on my stories and that was going to be it," said Simonek, who works for the school newspaper. "But then we got that email and everything went spiraling." 

In October, two people were killed and a dozen wounded at an off-campus shooting that occurred at a college party involving Texas A&M-Commerce students. The event was not school-sanctioned.

"Especially three months after the Greenville incident, it's hard," Simonek said. "I knew people at the Greenville party. I know people who go through Pride Rock. It's dangerous. I don't like that within three months, we had two shootings." 

This is a developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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