A 12-year-old boy was taken into custody Tuesday after a shooting at a Roswell, N.M., middle school that left two teenage classmates seriously wounded.
A 14-year-old boy, listed in critical condition, and a 13-year-old girl, in serious condition, were air-lifted to a Lubbock, Texas, hospital, about 175 miles away, according to a University Medical Center spokesperson.
Officials said the boy, who was shot twice in the face, was the intended target. A classmate said the shooter, a seventh grader, apparently was being bullied, but New Mexico State Police said they still do not have a motive.
Roswell police said the shooting occurred about 8:11 a.m. local time (10:11 a.m. ET) in the gymnasium at Berrendo Middle School. A teacher subdued the suspect.
Eighth-grader Odiee Carranza told the Associated Press that the suspect shot the boy twice and then wounded the girl once in an arm. He then fired once into the air before dropping the gun and being grabbed by a student, she said.
Carranza described the shooter as a “smart kid and a nice kid” and said she believed he had been bullied.
The school was quickly locked down. Police said children were bused to a nearby mall, where parents could pick them up.
Sixth-grade student Anyssa Vegara said she was talking to a security guard when she heard a shot.
“I turned around, and all I saw was someone on the floor with their arm bleeding,” Anyssa told the Albuquerque Journal.
She said the security guard ran to assist the injured student, and school officials ordered all the students to their classrooms.
Eventually, she was able to text her mother, Monica Vegara.
“From the time hearing about it until the time she texted, it was a nightmare,” Monica Vegara said.
Two prayer services were scheduled for Tuesday night at local churches.
“This is something that strikes people to the core,” Pastor Chris Mullennix told AP. “We’re not talking about a flesh wound or just a mental wound, we’re talking about the very souls of people being shaken and rocked by something like this.”
Roswell has been rocked by gang violence in recent years and has asked Homeland Security Investigations to step in and help.
The city is famous for the 1947 crash of an object that many believe was a flying saucer containing extraterrestrial life but that the Pentagon has said was a secret experimental surveillance balloon.
Source: USA Today