Shooter among dead in New Mexico high school shooting

AZTEC, N.M. - Two New Mexico high school students were fatally shot Thursday by another student who later died at the scene, authorities said.

San Juan County, N.M., operations officer Mark Stark confirmed the shooter was an Aztec High School student, though no other information, including a motive for the attack, was immediately available.

Police have not yet publicly identified the shooter or the two students who were killed in the small town in northwestern New Mexico.

San Juan Sheriff's Office Capt. Brice Current said the families of the shooting victims have been notified. 

Gov. Susana Martinez in on the way to the scene. The FBI is at the school.

Students and staff were cleared from the campus as police searched the school room by room. Buses took students to Farmington, N.M., to meet their parents.

The school was placed on lockdown as everyone was evacuated. 

"Aztec High School is locked down and being evacuated," the San Juan County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook. "Please avoid the area."

However, Lacy Cross waited anxiously by the school for news about her daughter. The last she had heard was a text message from her daughter telling her, "I love you," and that they could hear the shooter approaching.

As authorities tried to gain control of the situation, New Mexico officials began offering their condolences.

"Our hearts break for the victims and their families. We pray for the survivors, and are grateful to the brave first responders for their heroic actions on the scene," said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas in a statement. 

The Giffords New Mexico Coalition, a group which is partners with Giffords, a gun violence prevention group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released a statement calling on leaders to "prioritize public safety before the interest of the gun industry."

The statement quoted Don Shreiber, owner of Devil's Spring Ranch, who said the Aztech High School shooting was the latest example of "the daily toll the gun violence crisis is having on our nation." Shreiber, a lifelong gun owner, said he "was in Washington DC yesterday, calling on our leaders to stop weakening our gun laws and instead take action to save lives."

The school is in the Four Corners region and is about a half-hour from the Navajo Nation. Aztec, a community with fewer than 6,000 residents, is about 16 miles northeast of Farmington. 

Other schools in the area also were locked down, though officials in those districts didn't think there was a threat to those schools. 

Thursday's deadly shooting appears to be the most serious incident in New Mexico schools this year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, which tracks shootings nationally.

In January 2014, a seventh grader severely wounded two students at the gym in Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.

That shooter, Mason Campbell, now 17, was sentenced to the custody of the Children, You and Family Department up to his 21st birthday. His parents recently sued state officials, saying their son has suffered poor physical and mental health in their care.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS
More Stories