New Mexico school shooter disguised himself as a student in the building, police say


2 students fatally shot in New Mexico high school

The student opened fire in the high school.

The 21-year-old gunman who killed two students for the alleged suicide in a New Mexico high school Thursday disguised himself as a student, law enforcement officials said.

San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen said Friday that the shooter, identified as William Atchison, entered Aztec High School around 8:00 local time, with a backpack and a .9mm Glock with multiple magazines on him. He was a former student at the high school.

William Atchison, 21, was identified as the shooter who opened fire at a New Mexico high school, killing two students.

(San Juan County Sheriff’s Office)

Christesen called the shooting a cowardly act and said Atchison was determined to create as much carnage as he could.

“This was a planned event,” he said, adding the gun used in the shooting was purchased legally. “This person is not only a coward, he is evil.”

He added: “It is important to understand how focused he was, how disturbed he was in his intent.”

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Atchison’s first victim was Francisco I. Fernandez, who had excused himself from class to go to the bathroom and was immediately shot.

Kassetas said Atchison, then ran in the hallway, met Casey J. Marquez and killed her. Atchison, then ran through the corridor, shooting randomly in classrooms.

Officials said they believe Atchison eventually shot himself. She said that the students killed were not hit, but were at the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

Christesen said there were heroes at the school that helped save lives on Thursday. He said a substitute teacher heard the gunshots, but had no key for the door to the computer lab. So instead, she took students in an office or storage room and the door barricaded.

Atchison, who Aztex and worked at a local gas station, went into the room and yelled that he knew that they were there and then fired several pictures in the room. A custodian also heard the gunfire and shouted classrooms to lock their doors.

“Their quick action saved a lot of lives and much destruction,” Christesen said.

The Sheriff of the display of a small portion of what the shooter wrote #AztecSchoolShooting

— Kai Porter (@KaiPorterKOB) December 8, 2017

The authorities said they also found a message that Atchison wrote that work, school and life were bad and he wanted out. It also included a timeline of what he had planned for that day.

A part of the message said: “Work, packup, prep, run, die.”

Christesen said they also found a usb stick at Atchison, that had electronic notice that would provide more insight into the attack. He said that it has given to the FBI for investigation.

The FBI says the investigation of the New Mexico school shooter last year about online comments, although he said that he had no plans for an attack on the time.

Terry Wade, FBI special agent in charge in Albuquerque, said Atchison made general comments in a gaming forum, and that he and his family were interviewed in March 2016.

“It was determined no crime was committed,” he said, adding the investigation was closed

The shooting has rocked the Aztecs, a community of about 6500 near the Colorado border. Hundreds gathered for the prayer services and candlelight vigils and more meetings are scheduled in the weekend, as the inhabitants search for answers.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she spent the evening with the families of the victims and said it was “amazing to see that the unity of adults, teachers, preachers, and to see unification of the community.”

“Healing is a beginning,” she said, adding the state would cover the costs of the students ‘ funeral services.

Two GoFundMe pages have been created to help Fernandez and Marquez families.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang a Reporter for Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

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