New Mexico School Shooter’s Spree was Planned

Family issues apology as one victim remains in critical condition and another is stable

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Mark Wilson / Roswell Daily Record / Reuters

Students are reunited with families at a staging ground set up at the Roswell Mall following an early morning shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M., on Jan. 14, 2014

Updated 8:05 p.m. on Jan. 15

The 12-year-old boy who allegedly shot two students at his New Mexico middle school Tuesday acquired the gun he used in the shooting spree at home and planned the attack in advance, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said in a press conference Wednesday. “The gun came from the residence of the suspect’s,” the police chief said.

The police chief added, “We did find evidence that the suspect had planned this event … I can’t discuss the particulars as to why.”

A 13-year-old girl, Kendal Sanders, was shot in the arm and is stable but an 11-year-old boy who was hit in the face remained in critical condition Tuesday night. The boy’s family has asked that his name not be released.

Kassetas said targets appear to have been hit at random in the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, New Mexico. The alleged shooter, he said, walked into the school gymnasium, shot once at the ceiling, once into the floor, and once into the stands where a group of fellow students were standing awaiting the start of class.

“There is no indication that he had any ammunition other than what was loaded in that gun: three rounds,” Kassetas said.

Police believe the shooter may have warned other students to stay away from school on the day of the shooting.

In the attack, police say the boy used a .20 gauge shotgun, which he got from home and modified himself by cutting off the stock.  Authorities do not believe he brought a large arsenal of weaponry with him.

The boy was convinced to lay down his gun by eighth-grade social studies teacher John Masterson.

A flood of 911 calls came into emergency responders in the minutes after the shooting, some from students themselves.
“Berrendo Middle School, a kid just got shot,” one middle school student caller said.

In a statement, the family of the alleged shooter expressed sorrow for those hurt and offered prayers for recovery. The family also expressed love and concern for the suspect.
“We love our young son and grandson dearly as does everyone in his extended family,” the statement said. “His whole family is heart broken as are many others in our tight-knit community in Roswell. This is a community that takes care of each other and loves each other and that is praying together. We are thankful that Judge Romero has ordered that our son receive an evaluation and mental health treatment and sincerely want him to receive all of the help that he needs.”

This story has been updated with a statement from the family of the alleged shooter, the name of one of the victims and further details of the event.

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