The latest school shooting that shocked the country took place in a small New Mexico community called Roswell. This town already struggles with crime, poverty and pockets of gang violence, so what is the aftermath of the event here? Roswell hasn’t had this much bad press in the national scene, however, and this incident casts a familiar shadow on the town. The age of the boy is shocking, even for Roswell.
A suspect was apprehended in the school shooting that took place at Berrendo Middle School that Tuesday morning. According to the Roswell Daily Record, Gov. Susana Martinez confirmed that 13-year-old Kendal Sanders was among the school shooting victims. She was shot in the shoulder. The family of another victim is asking to withhold the identity of their son, who is 12 years old, the same age as the suspected shooter.
Police executed search warrants for school property used by the shooter, who was in New Mexico State Police custody. The boy’s Instagram photos and other forms of evidence were used to determine the boy’s actions. He has been charged as a juvenile, a law established in New Mexico. Churches held vigils as many community members emotionally dealt with the tragedy at Berrendo.
CNN reported that the student may have warned others before heading into the middle school and opening fire. New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told reporters during a news conference just after the school shooting that students may have been warned not to go to school that day. Little did the rest of New Mexico know that the day would produce a school shooting and a hero school teacher.
There isn’t yet a clear motive at this point. A friend of the boy said he wasn’t aware of any bullying that may have triggered the boy to shoot at other students. The boy entered the gymnasium with a 20-gauge shotgun and began firing at students before classes were to start. A teacher had come to students’ aid and apparently talked the boy into putting the gun down.
John Masterson, an eighth-grade teacher was honored at the capitol in Santa Fe. Sanders’ father said the shooter was a good kid, according to the New York Daily News. A lieutenant for the New Mexico State Police was dropping his own kid off at school when the shooting began. When he responded to the scene, Masterson had already convinced the boy to drop the gun. The shooter, Mason Campbell, was friends with Sanders, and she has forgiven the boy, her father told the Roswell Daily Record. They even went to Bible study together, yet a motive was not discussed publicly. Campbell is being held in a juvenile psychiatric facility and could be held in state custody until he reaches the age of 21 years old. The children of Roswell have gone back to school now and the New Mexico school shooting is out of the headlines but the aftermath is still fresh for these students.
By Rob Lawson