1 student critical, 1 stable after boy opens fire in New Mexico middle school gym

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 1/15/2014, 7:41 a.m.
A 12-year-old boy entered his middle school gym, pulled a shotgun out of a bag and opened fire on students ...
Student hugged by her parent after shooting at Berrendo Middle School

By Michael Martinez


A 12-year-old boy entered his middle school gym, pulled a shotgun out of a bag and opened fire on students waiting for school to start Tuesday, wounding two, authorities in Roswell, New Mexico, said.

A girl, 13, was in stable condition Tuesday night following surgery, authorities said. A boy, 11, was in critical condition after surgery.

The bloodshed rattled students and other citizens of Roswell, a city of just under 50,000 people 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque. Monique Salcido, a Berrendo Middle School student who saw two of her friends get shot, admitted she is "in shock."

"I don't want to go to Berrendo again because of what happened," she told CNN's Piers Morgan. "Because I'm afraid it's going to happen again."

The horror might have been much worse if not for one staff member. "(He) walked right up to him and asked him to put down the firearm," said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

At a vigil Tuesday evening at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, Martinez cited the teacher by name, saying, "Mr. Masterson ... was a hero ...who stood there and allowed a gun to be pointed right at him. And to talk down that young boy to drop the gun so that there would be no more young kids hurt."

The Berrendo staff directory on the school district's website lists John Masterson as an eighth-grade social studies teacher.

Another school staff member suffered "very minor injuries" in the shooting and declined medical treatment so he could continue to care for the pupils in the gym, the governor said.

Authorities detained a seventh-grader who is "responsible for this," said State Police Chief Pete Kassetas.

Students identified

One of the two students shot was identified as Kendal Sanders, a 13-year-old girl, the governor said.

She suffered injuries to her right shoulder and was in stable condition after surgery, Martinez said.

The name of the second injured student was not released. He was injured more severely and was undergoing a second surgery Tuesday night, Martinez said. The student suffered injuries to the side of his face and neck, the governor said.

Searching for a motive

Investigators didn't yet have a motive for the shooting, Kassetas added.

Salcido, who knew the shooter, said he was being bullied.

She was among students gathered in the gym to stay out of the cold weather before classrooms opened, according to the governor.

Salcido said "he was right behind me," carrying what she described as a "case, as she entered the gym.

The middle schooler said she and her friends were talking only to have their conversation interrupted by gunshots.

It all ended fairly quickly when Salcido said a Berrendo staffer ran "and told him to put the gun down."

"He had his hands up in the air," Salcido said of the shooter, adding that students were then put on lockdown for about two hours in their classrooms as some teachers tended to the wounded students.