Mason Campbell, New Mexico school shooter, chose victims at random
January 15, 2014
A 12-year-old shooter chose his victims at random when he fired off three rounds of a shotgun into a packed New Mexico middle school gymnasium, authorities said Wednesday.
The new details released by state police revealed their belief that the Tuesday shooting at Roswell’s Berrendo Middle School was planned in advance by the preteen suspect, identified by the district attorney’s office as Mason Campbell.
The attack which critically injured a 12-year-old boy faces him with three third-degree felony charges of aggravated battery, according to District Attorney Janetta Hicks. The charges could place him under the custody of the Children, Youth and Families Department until he is 21-years-old.
Police Chief Pete Kassetas said the weapon used was a sawed-off 20-gauge pump shotgun that held three rounds of ammunition.
"The gun came from the residence of the suspect," he said.
All three rounds were discharged in the school’s gymnasium — one at the ceiling, one at the floor and a “third round was aimed into the stands at the students,” Kassetas said.
"I believe when the incident occurred it was random. The victims were random,” he said.
A 12-year-old boy remained in critical condition Wednesday after undergoing at least two surgeries for his injuries to his face and neck by Tuesday evening, a hospital spokesman said.
A second victim, identified as 13-year-old Kendal Sanders, was upgraded to satisfactory condition after sustaining injuries to her upper right shoulder, Gov. Susana Martinez said at the afternoon press conference.
The two victims were hit from about 12 to 15 feet away, said Kassetas. The suspect then dropped his weapon when approached by a school faculty member.
In a statement released by the suspect’s parents and grandparents Wednesday evening, the Campbells expressed their “constant thoughts and our fervent prayers” for the two students injured.
"We are also praying for their families. We are horribly sad over this tragedy on so many levels," the statement read in part. "We love our young son and grandson dearly as does everyone in his extended family."
His family also expressed their gratitude of a judge’s orders to have their son evaluated and given mental health treatment, stating they “sincerely want him to receive all of the help that he needs.”
Search warrants for the shooter’s school locker, a duffle bag that carried his firearm and his home were obtained late Tuesday.
Though Kassetas said the reason why the attack happened couldn’t be immediately released, he said they “definitely discovered that through the search warrant.”
He also said the suspect may have warned other students of his grave intentions while making his way toward the gym.
The school district’s superintendent, Tom Burris, announced that classes at the school would resume Thursday with extra counselors available to help any students who need it.
"These are our kids. That doesn’t change if they’re injured or incarcerated," he said.
Gov. Martinez further implored all parents, no matter their children’s school, to talk to their kids about what happened and not allow them to keep their feelings buried inside them.
"The children who return to school tomorrow are not the same who went to school on Tuesday. They’re different," she said. "If it happened here in Roswell it can happen at another school in Roswell."
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