3 killed, 2 wounded in attack on Farmington
A chaotic shooting in New Mexico’s Four Corners region on Monday left four people dead and two police officers injured, including a teenage suspect.
Three “civilian casualties” were killed, Farmington police said, in addition to a suspect who was “confronted and killed at the scene”. Police said the suspect was 18 years old and had several guns, 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 gunman, who was shot at least once by police and died, appeared to be shooting at victims indiscriminately, Hebbe said.
According to Hebbe, at least six houses and three cars were shot at. The shooter used at least three weapons, including what Hebbe called an AR rifle.
Officers responding to 911 calls about shots fired at 10:57 a.m. Monday found a “chaotic scene” when the gunman was still shooting at people.
“We have four Farmington Police Department officers who have been confronted with the subject,” Crum said. “They were able to stop his actions at that point.”
Six people were injured, including two police officers — one was a Farmington officer and the other was a member of the state police, police said. The state police officer was still hospitalized and the Farmington officer was treated and released.
A motive was investigated. Hebbe said investigators will talk to family members and analyze evidence.
“It appears to be completely random. There was no target of specific victims that we can identify at this stage,” Hebbe said. But he warned it was very early.
The suspect allegedly traveled to about 1/4 mile in the vicinity and fired three guns, the police chief said.
Initially, police were concerned there was another shooter and schools were being closed down – but Hebbe said Monday night that police don’t think there was ever a second shooter.
Authorities urged anyone with information about the shooting to contact police.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham thanked the police for a quick response.
“I am deeply upset by the tragic violence that unfolded in Farmington today. I pray for the families of the victims, the injured and the entire community of Farmington in the wake of this horrific tragedy,” she said in a statement. “I am also grateful for the swift response of the police. My administration will not stop fighting the epidemic of gun violence from every possible angle.”
Police ordered Farmington’s municipal schools to close at 11:15 a.m., officials said. The order was lifted at 1:05 PM
Agents from 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 supermarket with a friend when she saw a woman lying in the street. She thought it was strange but kept going. Moments later, when she was at a church near her home, three to five gunshots rang out.
McIntosh said she then saw at least one person lying on the grass in the church grounds.
“We saw the first elderly lady on the street and thought she had been hit by a car,” McIntosh said. “And then we went a little bit further, past the church, and heard the gunshots. … And then we saw other people who were on the ground and thought, ‘Oh my God. What’s going on? What is going on?’ People are being killed.”
She added: “I’m still very upset.”
McIntosh said there was a surge of police activity in the area at the time and she was unable to enter 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 my recliner.”
McIntosh said the bullet hit her living room wall.
“If I happened to be home, I could have been shot,” she said.
Investigators focused on Dustin Avenue between Ute and Apache streets in Farmington, officials said.
The city, with a population of just over 46,000, is located about 200 miles northwest of Santa Fe, the state capital.
The community – near the famous 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 congressmen — Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján and Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández, Melanie Stansbury and Gabe Vasquez — thanked first responders in a joint statement and pledged to fight gun violence through federal legislation.
“We are devastated by today’s mass shooting in Farmington, New Mexico,” they said. “While we await further updates, we are grateful to our state and local law enforcement officers who have responded to the scene, and our health care providers who are caring for the injured. Our hearts are with the families of the deceased and injured.”
Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett called the violence a horrific tragedy and said the two injured officers suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. He said the police response saved lives.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families at this incomprehensible time of pain and loss,” said Duckett.
Monday’s mass shooting comes on the heels of two others in the past nine days. Two people were killed and five others injured in a shooting in Yuma, Arizona, Saturday evening, police said.
Seven victims, all men, were found with gunshot wounds. Two of them, ages 19 and 20, were taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center where they were pronounced dead. There were no suspects in custody.
A week before that shooting, a gunman killed eight people at a mall in the Dallas area.
The 33-year-old gunman, a neo-Nazi sympathizer with an AR-15-style weapon, was killed by an officer who happened to be at the mall in Allen, authorities said.
The victims included a young boy and his parents, two elementary school-aged sisters, a security guard pursuing his goals, and an engineer with a new master’s degree.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com