In yet another tragedy, a shooting at a New Mexico high school has reportedly left multiple people dead. The situation is still unfolding, but the San Juan County Sheriff's Office announced on Thursday via Twitter that the event took place at Aztec High School and three people are reportedly deceased, including two students and the alleged shooter.
At the time of publication, the death toll at Aztec High School — which is located about 180 miles northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico and has a student body of around 900 — stands at three people and the age and sex of the victims and the shooter have yet to be released, according to CNN. It is also unclear how the shooter died and whether he or she was a student.
San Juan County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jayme Harcrow told People that some reports have stated that more than a dozen people were hurt in the shooting, but these numbers have not been confirmed. Additional casualties have also not been confirmed at this time. Harcrow also stated that it is unclear whether the victims were specifically targeted by the shooter, or if the shooter shot at random. According to People, Harcrow described the shooting as "shocking," saying, “It’s horrible — it’s a great community and we love this place. Things can happen anywhere, but it’s shocking when they happen in a place like here.”
Before the shooter was located, the school was initially placed on lockdown, USA Today reported. Students and staff members were then evacuated from the school building and campus as police strategically searched the school room by room, according to USA Today. Other schools in the surrounding area were also placed on lockdown, such as Farmington Municipal Schools. Farmington explained in a statement shared on Facebook that all of the schools in the district were shut down preventatively:
We have no reason to think there is any threat in Farmington at this time, but we are taking this advance action in order to secure all of our schools. Your students’ safety is our primary concern.
Other details about the shooting, such as how, where in the school, and when it occurred remain unavailable at this time. While the victims have not been identified, San Juan Sheriff's Office Capt. Brice Current told USA Today that the families of the shooting victims have been notified and were updated about the situation "immediately."
Authorities designated an area in the nearby McGee Park Fairgrounds for parents to come and get their children, as the school remains an active crime scene. Students were bussed away from the school to meet their parents. The New Mexico State Police have taken over the investigation, along with federal authorities who are investigating the circumstances leading up to the shooting, according to CBS News.
New Mexico State Police tweeted that a press conference on the shooting will be held and announced in advance. Parents expressed concern over additional threats to students, but police have also stated that there are no credible threats at this time and all news otherwise is just rumor.
The location of the shooting, the town of Aztec, New Mexico, is a rural community of roughly 6,500 people located in the northwestern part of the state near the Navajo Nation. Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, shared his feelings about the incident in a press release, saying:
It's tragic when our children are harmed in violent ways especially on school campuses. We express our condolences to those families who have been harmed.
As the tragic situation in Aztec continues to unfold, it is comforting to know that the authorities have the situation under control and parents are being reunited with their children.