New Mexico shooting: 3 dead, 2 wounded in Farmington attack
Four people, including a teenage suspect, were killed and two police officers were wounded Monday in a chaotic shooting in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, authorities said.
Three "civilian victims" were killed, Farmington police said, in addition to a suspect who was "confronted and killed on scene." Police said that the suspect was 18 years old and that he had multiple weapons, Deputy Police Chief Baric Crum said.
“It’s just a devastating day,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in a video Monday night.
The 18-year-old shooter, who was shot at least once by police and died, appeared to fire at victims at random, Hebbe said.
At least six houses and three cars were shot, Hebbe said. The gunman used at least three weapons, including what Hebbe called an AR-style rifle.
Officers who responded to 911 calls about shots fired at 10:57 a.m. Monday came upon a "chaotic scene" as the shooter was still firing at people.
"We have four officers from the Farmington Police Department that confronted the subject," Crum said. "They were able to stop his actions at that time."
Six people were injured, including two police officers — one was a Farmington officer and the other was a member of the state police, according to police. The state police officer was still hospitalized, and the Farmington officer was treated and released.
A motive was under investigation. Hebbe said that investigators will be talking to family members and analyzing evidence.
"It appears to be completely random. There was no targeting of specific victims that we can identify at this stage," Hebbe said. But he cautioned it was very early.
The suspect is believed to have traveled in the neighborhood up to approximately 1/4 of a mile and to have fired three weapons, the police chief said.
Initially, police were concerned there was another shooter and schools were placed in lockdown — but Hebbe said Monday night that police believe there was never a second shooter.
Authorities urged anyone with information about the shooting to contact police.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham thanked police for a quick response.
“I am deeply upset by the tragic violence that unfolded today in Farmington. I am praying for the families of the victims, the wounded and the entire community of Farmington following this horrific tragedy," she said in a statement. "I’m also grateful for the quick response by law enforcement. My administration will not stop fighting the epidemic of gun violence from every angle possible."
Police had Farmington Municipal Schools lock down at 11:15 a.m., officials said. The order was lifted by 1:05 p.m.
Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and San Juan County sheriff’s deputies also responded.
Judith McIntosh, 77, said Monday afternoon she was driving home from the grocery store with a friend when she saw a woman lying on the street. She thought it was odd but continued driving. Moments later, as she was by a church near her home, three to five gunshots rang out.
McIntosh said she then saw at least one person lying on the grass on the church's property.
"We saw the first older lady in the street and thought she had been hit by a car," McIntosh said. "And then we went a little bit further, by the church, and heard the gunshots. ... And then we saw other people that were on the ground and thought: 'Oh, my God. What's going on? What's happening?' People are getting killed."
She added, "I'm still very upset."
McIntosh said that there was then a flurry of police activity in the area and that she was not able to get into her home for hours. When she did, she discovered that a gunshot had pierced her bedroom window.
"There was a bullet hole in my bedroom window, through the curtains, through the living room and over the top of my recliner."
McIntosh said the bullet struck her living room wall.
"If I happened to be home, I could have been shot," she said.
Investigators were concentrating on Dustin Avenue between Ute and Apache streets in Farmington, officials said.
The city, with a population of a little over 46,000, is about 200 miles northwest of Santa Fe, the state capital.
The community — near the famed Four Corners, where the borders of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona meet — is also close to three major Native American reservations: those of the Navajo, the Ute Mountain Indians and the Southern Utes.
New Mexico's five members of Congress — Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján and Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández, Melanie Stansbury and Gabe Vasquez — thanked first responders in a joint statement and vowed to fight gun violence via federal legislation.
"We are devastated by today’s mass shooting in Farmington, New Mexico," they said. "As we await further updates, we are grateful to our state and local law enforcement officers who responded to the scene, and to our health care providers who are caring for those injured. Our hearts are with the families of the deceased and those injured."
Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett called the violence a horrific tragedy, and said the two wounded officers suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. He said the response by police saved lives.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families during this incomprehensible time of pain and loss," Duckett said.
Monday's mass shooting comes on the heels of two others in the past nine days. Two people were killed and five others were injured in a shooting Saturday night in Yuma, Arizona, police said.
Seven victims, all male, were found with gunshot wounds. Two of them, 19 and 20 years old, were taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead. No suspects were in custody.
A week before that shooting, a gunman killed eight people at a Dallas-area outlet mall.
The 33-year-old shooter, a neo-Nazi sympathizer with an AR-15-style weapon, was killed by an officer who happened to be at the shopping center in Allen, authorities said.
The victims included a young boy and his parents, two elementary school-age sisters, a security guard working toward his goals and an engineer with a new master’s degree.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com