Police: Alleged N.M. school shooter 'planned this event'

Jan. 15, 2014 at 4:54 PM
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ROSWELL, N.M., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Police said a Roswell, N.M., middle school student who shot two classmates "planned this event" but did not specifically target the victims.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told reporters Wednesday investigators believe a 12-year-old student used a 20-gauge pump shotgun he obtained at his home to shoot two fellow students at Berrendo Middle School before classes began Tuesday.

One victim, an 11-year-old boy whose name has not been reported, was still in critical condition Wednesday with injuries to the side of his face and his neck, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said at an afternoon news conference. The other victim, Kendal Sanders, 13, was reported in stable condition.

Kassetas said investigators executing search warrants in the alleged shooter's locker and duffel bag, and at his home, found evidence "the suspect had planned this event."

"I can't discuss the particulars as to why," he said.

Kassetas said the shooter modified the weapon, cutting off the stock to convert it into "more of a pistol-grip-type weapon." He said the shotgun was loaded with three rounds of bird shot and the shooter fired all three rounds -- one into the ceiling, one into the floor and one into a crowd of students from a distance of 12-15 feet.

Kassetas confirmed there was "some indication" the shooter posted warnings on social media and may have delivered warnings "in person to some select students that he ran into before he entered that gymnasium."

He said he believes "when the incident occurred it was random, the victims were random."

Martinez urged students and parents to talk about the experience, rather than try to bury it.

"The children who return for school [Thursday] were not the children who arrived on Tuesday," she said. "They are different."

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