Three people were fatally shot at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, on Thursday morning.
New Mexico State Police confirmed two students and the suspected shooter are dead.
San Juan County police officers declined to provide much information about the victims, the shooter, or the weapon involved at a press conference Thursday afternoon. They did identify the suspect as male.
“No names today,” San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen said. “We haven’t identified everyone yet and fully informed the families.”
“I was hoping in 28 years I’d never have to do this,” he added, “but unfortunately we’re here today.”
Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal took time to acknowledge the fast responses of everyone involved, including teachers at the school. Heal said Aztec police were on scene in under a minute after receiving the call, and had to break a window to gain entry since the school was on lockdown.
“At schools, our primary rule, obviously, is to educate students and keep them safe,” added Aztec Municipal Schools superintendent Kirk Carpenter, his voice wavering at times. ”When you have something like this, it hits you in the heart.”
In an interview with KOB4, an Aztec High School student identified as Bailey said classes had just started for the day when the shooting began.
“We were getting to class and saying the pledge and … we started hearing banging,” she said. “We thought, ‘Oh, they’re working on the air conditioning.’ It was actually gunshots.”
“My teacher locked us up in her closet and we stayed there for about an hour until the police came and got us,” she said.
The shocked teenager said the shooting doesn’t fit with her perceptions of the school.
“We’re a good school,” she said. “We have amazing teachers, awesome people that work with us. It’s really sad that this happened today.”
Flora Vista resident Sarah Murray told HuffPost her niece is in 10th grade at the school and was unharmed in the shooting.
“I was just sick to my stomach until I heard from my sister she was ok,” she said. “Now I’m just worried about other kids whose parents I am friends with.”
“We all know each other in San Juan County,” she added.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.