Police: 12-year-old had planned school shooting in advance
By Shaley Sanders
ROSWELL, NM (KCBD) - On Wednesday, New Mexico state police released new information about the 12-year-old alleged to have opened fire on staff and students at Roswell Middle School.
The shooting happened around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Berrendo Middle School. Police said the shooter walked into the school's gymnasium and opened fire.
At an afternoon press conference, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said they executed three search warrants: the first on the suspect's locker, another on the duffel back believed to have carried the firearm and another on the suspect's Roswell home.
"We did find evidence that the suspect had planned this event. I can't discuss particulars as to why, but we definitely discovered that through the warrant process," Kassetas said.
Kassetas said they are also investigating allegations that the suspect may have warned others of his attack on his way into the school Tuesday morning. Police said they have interviewed at least 60 witnesses.
Kassetas said the preteen shooter used a 20 gauge sawed-off shotgun that he retrieved from his residence; police believe he made the modification himself.
"It had three rounds of ammunition in that weapon, all three rounds were expended during the incident. We believe that the distance that weapon when fired at the two young individuals that were struck was about 12 to 15 feet," Kassetas said.
Chief Kassetas said one round went into the school's ceiling, another in the floor and another round injured a school employee and two students. The employee reportedly only suffered minor injuries. The students, however, were airlifted to UMC where they remain hospitalized.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said she spoke with a student who witnessed the shooting first-hand.
"He said, ‘I'm trying to shove it down; I'm trying to push it down', which means he doesn't want to express what he's feeling, but it will come out at one point," Martinez said.
Which is why she is urging parents to speak to their children about this tragedy.
Roswell Independent School District's Superintendent said staff worked all day to prepare for students who will return to classes on Thursday.
He said that the teachers are prepared to serve as counselors as well.