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 and witnesses said.
Gov. Susana Martinez says a boy was critically injured and a girl was in serious condition after the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.
The students were in the gym, where she said they typically hang out before classes start during cold and inclement weather. The 12-year-old pulled a shotgun and opened fire there at about 8 a.m.
But 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.
Officials at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, say an 11-year-old boy was flown there in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl was en route in serious condition. 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 says a staff member received very minor injuries but declined medical care because he wanted to stay and help.
Odiee Carranza, an eighth grader at Berrendo, said she was walking to the school gym when the suspect 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 out of 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.
Carranza described the shooter as a “smart kid and a nice kid.”
A statement from the state police said authorities responded at 8:11 a.m. Roswell police say the school was placed on lockdown, and the suspected shooter was arrested. His name was not released.
Police said children were bused to a nearby mall, where parents could pick up them up.
At a briefing later in the day, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president was aware of the shooting.