Valdosta Daily Times

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January 16, 2014

Police: Shooter warned some students away

ROSWELL, N.M. — The 12-year-old boy who opened fire in a New Mexico middle school gym warned some students away just before the attack, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Wednesday.

Kassetas said the attack at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell was planned in advance. But he said it appeared the boy’s victims — an 11-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl — were chosen randomly.

During a Wednesday press briefing, Kassetas declined to speculate on a motive or say when charges would be filed. But he said the boy got the sawed-off shotgun from his family’s home and had three rounds of ammunition.

“All three rounds were expended during the incident,” Kassetas said. “There was no indication that he had any ammunition other than what was loaded in the gun.”

Officials said Wednesday the 11-year-old boy who was shot in the face and neck remains in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. The 13-year-old girl is in satisfactory condition with injuries to the right shoulder.

Kassetas said investigators worked through the night executing search warrants at the school, and determined from those searches that the attack was planned. They examined the boy’s locker and the duffel bag the seventh-grader used to transport the 20-gauge pump shotgun to school.

Kassetas said the handle of the gun was sawed off so it had “more of a pistol grip.”

The police chief added authorities had some indication that the boy verbally warned “select students” about the attack as he arrived at the school. He didn’t elaborate.

When the shots first rang out in the school’s gym, some students started laughing, assuming it was just another drill.

It wasn’t. But those emergency exercises that students and teachers have undergone regularly for the past two years were being credited Wednesday with the quick disarming of the suspect.

The whole thing was over in 10 seconds, police say, thanks to John Masterson, an eighth-grade social studies teacher who stepped in and talked the boy into dropping his weapon.

Masterson then held the boy until authorities arrived.

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