(ROSWELL, N.M.) — The seventh grade student accused of bursting into his school gym Tuesday and opening fire with a shotgun on his fellow classmates may have warned his friends to stay home that day, according to police.
“We have preliminary information that possibly some of the students were warned by the individual prior to the shooting not to go to school,” said New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas during a news conference Tuesday night.
According to police, the boy walked into the school’s gym Tuesday morning before classes began at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M., and began shooting. He injured a 13-year-old girl, Kendal Sanders, and a 12-year-old boy who has not been named by authorities.
The suspect has been taken to a psychiatric hospital following the shooting, authorities said.
Sanders is in stable condition with an injury to her arm, but the boy is in critical condition with facial and neck injuries, police said.
Authorities are still searching for a motive to the shooting, and knocked down reports Tuesday night that the suspect targeted the 12-year-old boy. Police said Tuesday that they were “looking at social media outlets and the different forms of communication these kids use to talk to each other.”
Kassetas said that the boy used a 22-gauge shotgun with the gun’s wood stock sawed off. They have obtained search warrants for the boy’s home, school locker, and belongings, Kassetas said, but they still do not know where or how the boy obtained the weapon.
The shooting began and ended within 10 seconds, according to police. After he heard two shots fired, eighth grade teacher John Masterson talked the suspect down from firing any more shots and convinced him to put the gun down and his hands up, police said. The boy was then apprehended.
Kassetas said that an off-duty state police trooper, Lt. Gary Smith, was dropping his child off at the school when the shooting occurred and helped apprehend the boy.
The suspect’s family is expected to make a statement Wednesday.
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