Mexico school shooter warned some away; victims appeared to be random

The 12-year-old boy who opened fire in a New Mexico middle school gym warned some students away just before the attack, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Wednesday.

ROSWELL, N.M. — The 12-year-old boy who opened fire in a New Mexico middle school gym warned some students away just before the attack, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Wednesday.

Kassetas said the attack at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell was planned in advance. But he said it appeared the boy’s victims — an 11-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl — were chosen randomly.

During a Wednesday press briefing, Kassetas declined to speculate on a motive or say when charges would be filed. But he said the boy got the sawed-off shotgun from his family’s home and had three rounds of ammunition.

“All three rounds were expended during the incident,” Kassetas said. “There was no indication that he had any ammunition other than what was loaded in the gun.”

Officials said Wednesday the 11-year-old boy who was shot in the face and neck remains in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. The 13-year-old girl is in satisfactory condition with injuries to the right shoulder.

Kassetas said investigators worked through the night executing search warrants at the school, and determined from those searches that the attack was planned. They examined the boy’s locker and the duffel bag the seventh-grader used to transport the 20-gauge pump shotgun to school.

Kassetas said the handle of the gun was sawed off so it had “more of a pistol grip.”

The police chief added authorities had some indication that the boy verbally warned “select students” about the attack as he arrived at the school. He didn’t elaborate.

When the shots first rang out in the school’s gym, some students started laughing, assuming it was just another drill.

It wasn’t. But those emergency exercises that students and teachers have undergone regularly for the past two years were being credited Wednesday with the quick disarming of the suspect.

The whole thing was over in 10 seconds, police say, thanks to John Masterson, an eighth-grade social studies teacher who stepped in and talked the boy into dropping his weapon. Masterson then held the boy until authorities arrived.

“He stood there and allowed the gun to be pointed right at him so there would be no more young kids hurt,” Gov. Susana Martinez told 1,500 or so people at a prayer vigil late Tuesday.

Others teachers scurried to lock kids in classrooms while students in the gym where the shooting took place dove under bleachers and took cover, said Andrea Leon, a 13-year-old eighth grader at the school.

Leon says she was walking toward the gym, where students gather before class, when she heard the gun shots. She said she knew they were real, “but some people were laughing because they thought it was fake.”

“I guess they had been through many drills,” she said.

Roswell Superintendent Tom Burris said the staff and students had participated in active shooter training and responded appropriately.

Police and schools nationwide adopted “active shooter” policies after Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher, and wounded 26 others before killing themselves in the Littleton, Colo., school’s library in 1999. Police waited 45 minutes for a SWAT team to arrive before entering the school. Officers now are trained to confront a shooter immediately.

The family of the injured 11-year-old boy has asked that his name not be released while he recovers.

The suspected shooter was transferred to an Albuquerque psychiatric hospital following a hearing Tuesday, according to attorney Robert Gorence, who is representing his family. Gorence said the family would release a statement Wednesday.

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month