21-year-old school shooter disguised himself as student

Posted: Updated:
(Jon Austria /The Daily Times via AP). Students are led out of Aztec High School after a shooting Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Aztec, N.M. The school is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times via AP). Students are led out of Aztec High School after a shooting Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Aztec, N.M. The school is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation.
AZTEC, N.M. (AP) -

The Latest on a shooting at a New Mexico high school (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

Authorities say a gunman killed two students randomly at a New Mexico high school in a planned attack.

San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told reporters Friday that 21-year-old William Atchison of the small town of Aztec had legally purchased a 9mm Glock pistol a month ago.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas says the shooter had multiple magazines with him and went to a bathroom after disguising himself as a student to get into Aztec High School.

He says Francisco I. Fernandez had excused himself from class to go to the bathroom and was immediately shot. Kassetas says Atchison then walked into the hallway, encountered Casey J. Marquez and killed her.

Authorities say he walked up and down the hallway, firing randomly and into classrooms.

Officials say they believe Atchison shot himself.

11:30 a.m.

The FBI says online comments made last year by a gunman who killed two students at a New Mexico high school had led them to conduct an investigation.

Terry Wade, FBI special agent in charge in Albuquerque, told reporters Friday that the 21-year-old made generic comments in a gaming forum and the agency checked databases and interviewed him and his family in March 2016.

Wade says the man didn't have a gun at that time and told agents that he had no plans for an attack. He also didn't have ties to any organizations.

The FBI closed the investigation when it determined no crime was committed.

11:15 a.m.

Authorities say the 21-year-old gunman who killed two students at a New Mexico high school disguised himself as a student to gain access to the school.

San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen on Friday shared a message the gunman had written before the shooting on Thursday morning. It included a timeline of what the gunman had planned.

Christesen called the shooting at Aztec High School a cowardly act and that the shooter was determined to create as much carnage as he could.

Authorities said the gunman lived with his parents in Aztec and had worked at a gas station. In his message, he wrote that work, school and life was bad and he wanted out.


Previous story:

A shooting at a high school in a small New Mexico town left two students and the suspect dead, authorities said Thursday as schools throughout the area remained on lockdown as a precaution.

State police did not release any details about the shooter but confirmed the other two people who were killed attended Aztec High School. No other injuries were reported, officials said.

The school of about 900 students was cordoned off as authorities cleared the buildings and teens were taken to another location.

A crowd of nervous parents gathered outside City Hall to wait for more information as officers tried to reassure them about the safety of their children.

"The families of the victims were notified immediately. They are in our thoughts and prayers," state police said in a statement on social media.

State and federal authorities are investigating what led to the shooting and did not immediately release any details about the circumstances. A news conference was planned.

Aztec is a rural community of 6,500 people in the heart of northwestern New Mexico's oil and gas country and near the Navajo Nation. Its main street is lined by old brick buildings that date back more than a century.

Residents voiced disbelief on social media, while members of the New Mexico congressional delegation, state Attorney General Hector Balderas and other elected officials offered their condolences and other assistance.

"While details are still coming in, we grieve for the innocent victims in this senseless act of violence. Too many lives have been disrupted and too many futures cut short," U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said in a tweet.


 

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