ROSWELL, N.M. – A 12-year-old New Mexico boy drew a shotgun from a band-instrument case and shot and wounded two classmates at his middle school Tuesday morning before a teacher talked him into dropping the weapon and he was taken into custody, officials said.
A boy was critically injured and a girl was in satisfactory condition after the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.
Gov. Susana Martinez said the students were in the gym, where they typically hang out before classes start during cold and inclement weather. The 12-year-old pulled a shotgun and opened fire there about 8 a.m.
However, he was quickly stopped by one staff member who walked right up to him and asked him to set down the firearm, which he did, Martinez said.
Superintendent Tom Burris said the school’s faculty had participated in active shooter training, and they responded appropriately Tuesday.
In the 10 seconds that transpired from the time of this thing starting until the teacher had control of the weapon, there was no cowardice, Burris said. There was protection for our kids. Everyone acted and did their duties today at Berrendo Middle School.
Officials at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, said an 11-year-old boy was flown there in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl arrived in serious condition. Her condition was upgraded to satisfactory Tuesday evening.
Information from nurses treating the boy indicates he was the shooter’s target, hospital spokesman Eric Finley said. There was some confusion about the boy’s age, but Finley said his parents told the hospital he is 11.
The governor said a staff member suffered minor injuries but declined medical care because he wanted to stay and help.
Berrendo eighth-grader Odiee Carranza said she was walking to the school gym when the boy later identified as the shooter bumped into her as he rushed past. She told him to be careful, and he apologized and continued on. The boy ran to the gym, where he pulled a gun from a band-instrument case and fired at the students.
Then he shot up in the sky, then dropped the gun, and then some teacher grabbed the kid that had the gun, Carranza said.
State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said the investigation is in its early stages, and authorities are examining a possible motive. He estimated more than 100 students and faculty members needed to be interviewed.
I don’t have a lot of answers as of yet, Kassetas said, adding that police believe they have the only person responsible for the shooting in custody. The boy’s name was not released.
I want to make sure the community knows there’s really nobody else out there, Kassetas said.
State police said authorities responded at 8:11 a.m. The school was placed on lockdown and children were bused to a nearby mall, where parents picked them up.
Classes were later canceled and won’t resume until Thursday.
I’m still scared to go back to school, Carranza said.
Roswell has a population of about 50,000. The ranching and farming community is perhaps best-known as the site of an alleged UFO crash in 1947.