ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A 12-year-old New Mexico boy used a shotgun to shoot and wound 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.
A boy was critically injured and a girl was in stable condition following the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.
Gov. Susana Martinez said the students were in the gym, where they typically hang out before classes start during cold and inclement weather. The 12-year-old opened fire with the shotgun there at about 8 a.m.
However, 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.
Martinez said at a press conference late Tuesday that the boy pointed the gun at the teacher before dropping it.
Superintendent Tom Burris said the school's faculty had participated in "active shooter" training, and they responded appropriately Tuesday.
"In the 10 seconds that transpired from the time of this thing starting until the teacher had control of the weapon, there was no cowardice," Burris said. "There was protection for our kids. Everyone acted and did their duties today at Berrendo Middle School."
Officials at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, said an 11-year-old boy was flown there in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl arrived in serious condition.
The governor said late Tuesday that the boy underwent a second surgery. She identified the girl as 13-year-old Kendal Sanders and said her condition was upgraded to stable.
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 said a staff member received very minor injuries but declined medical care because he wanted to stay and help.
The suspected shooter, whom police have not named, was transferred to an Albuquerque psychiatric hospital following a hearing Tuesday, according to attorney Robert Gorence, who is representing his family. Gorence said the family will release a statement Wednesday.
New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said late Tuesday that the shooter used a 22-gauge shotgun. He said they're investigating where he got the gun and have issued search warrants for the boy's home and his bag and locker.
He would only say that the gun was brought to the school concealed, but a witness said the boy pulled it from band instrument case.
On Tuesday night, hundreds of people poured into the Roswell Civic Center for a prayer vigil, including elected officials and law enforcement officers from various agencies. There were many hugs and tears.
"We really need this," Roswell resident Maria Lucero, 35, said of the vigil. "We need to pray for the families of the victims and the little boy that did the shooting. I'm going to pray for them all."