A shooting at Aztec High School in New Mexico was confirmed by San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christensen earlier this morning. Reports of shots fired came in around 8:15 a.m. local time.
At the time, Lt. Kyle Lincoln from the San Juan County Sheriff Department told KRQE News 13 that police were conducting a full sweep of the school. Police have since completed the sweep and have confirmed that there was only one suspect and he is deceased.
“Any witness of this shooting are asked to call the following hotline: 505-334-6622; OR PM the SJCSO on their Facebook page (). Ask to speak with a detective as a witness,” the New Mexico State Police recently tweeted.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Police Say the Suspect Was a Student at Aztec High School
Police say that there was one suspect in this morning’s shooting. The suspect was a student at the school. He entered the building just after the school day commenced and opened fire.
Police have confirmed that the suspect was killed. However, it is unclear if he died via a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police suicide, or something else.
The New Mexico State Police are trying to uncover a motive. So far, there hasn’t been any information about why this suspect opened fire or if either of the victims were intended targets.
A press conference has been scheduled for 3 p.m. local time and should provide the public with more information about what happened.
2. Two Students Were Killed by Gunfire
According to a press release from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, two people were “fatally wounded” in this morning’s incident. The names and ages of these two victims have not been released.
“It’s tragic when our children are harmed in violent ways, especially on school campuses. We express our condolences to those families who have been harmed. Our prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy, and everyone throughout San Juan County. We are asking for prayers for these families,” President Russell Begaye said.
Despite reports that 15 people were injured in the shooting, New Mexico State Police have said that “no other injuries” outside the three deceased (two students, one suspect) had been reported.
Below is a video of an unofficial press conference held around 9:20 a.m. local time.
3. Schools in the Area Were on Lockdown, But Authorities Say That There Is No Threat to the Public
Not long after the shooting was reported, schools in the area took the proper precautions to ensure the safety of their students and faculty. Both Bloomfield and Farmington High Schools were placed on lockdown, but that lockdown has since been lifted.
Bloomfield Police Department shared the following message on Facebook this morning:
“We are aware that there is an active shooter at Aztec High School. We do have officers located at all of the schools in Bloomfield and they are all on lock down. Parents are advised to please stay away from all of the schools until further notice.”
Farmington Municipal Schools released the following statement on their Facebook page:
“Farmington Municipal Schools has been asked to enter into a preventive lockdown by local law enforcement due to an incident in Aztec NM. We have no reason to think there is any threat in Farmington at this time but we are taking this advance action in order to secure all of our schools. Your students safety is our primary concern. Thank you.”
There is no longer a threat to the community, according to authorities.
4. Students Were Taken by Bus to McGee Park & Released to Their Families
Aztec High School is located at 500 E Chaco Street, in Aztec, New Mexico. Parents who have children at the school have been told to pick them up at McGee Park at noon. School buses will transport students there. Parents are asked to “be patient” as they wait for their children to arrive at McGee Park.
“I heard gunshots and screaming,” Aztec freshman Caidyn Atwood told the Farmington Daily Times. “They just said, ‘there’s a lockdown, and this is not a drill.’ It was the scariest moment of my life.”
5. Vigils Will Take Place This Afternoon & This Evening & Grief Counsellors Will Be Made Available
There will be a prayer service this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. local time at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Aztec. A second vigil will be held at the Aztec High School football field at 8 p.m., according to the Farmington Daily Times.
Aztec High School will be closed on Friday.