ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department responded to a shooting that took place at Washington Middle School Friday around 12:45 p.m. In a press conference, APD has confirmed that the incident occurred between two male students, approximately 13 years old. The victim was transported to the hospital where they died from their injuries. APD says the male suspect believed to have been the shooter is in custody.
APD Chief Harold Medina says the boy who died is being hailed a hero for standing up for a friend and trying to de-escalate a violent confrontation. Officials will APD confirmed that the incident was an isolated shooting between two male students in the schoolyard during the lunch hour. Officers responded quickly as did school staff.
“Students were made safe quickly by school personnel and APS Police,” said Kyle Hartstock with the police department. “An APS police officer who was on scene and outside when the shooting occurred was able to rush over deescalate situation and take offender into custody without any further violence.”
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“Especially our school resource officer who ran towards the event and tried to help and deescalated the situation and provide assistance to the victim,” said APS Superintendent Scott Elder. “It’s just a terrible day for APS, terrible day for this community.”
Shortly after the shooting, there was already a long line of parents outside the school waiting to pick up their students, many families coming together, hugging and crying. One neighbor who lives across the street says there were kids outside at the time. He says they’ve been experiencing a lot of crime in the neighborhood recently, this just adding to it.
“Me and my girlfriend heard about six gunshots happen. I would say about right here… and here we are 10 minutes later and there’s cops everywhere,” said Ross Rader. “I’m frightened right now. There’s… we’ve been experiencing a lot of crime on this block recently. Not too long ago there was a shooting over here. The cops show up every time.”
Parents and students say there was a fight at the school on Thursday and threats were made, It’s unclear if the students involved in the shooting were the same students involved in that incident. KRQE News 13 asked APS administrators and police were aware of that, they said they are looking into that.
Police are also looking into where the shooter got the gun. They also say the gun was recovered at the scene. It’s unclear how many shots were fired. Their identity has not been released. Police say they’re also looking into surveillance at the school and surrounding businesses to make sure the entire event is captured. Police are also called on students to come forward.
This is just the third day of school for APS and some parents say it’s shocking to see this happen so soon. APS says extra officers will be brought in the coming weeks, to not only increase security but also to provide assurance and support for students who need it.
Friends of the student killed in a shooting started a memorial Friday night outside the school. “He always used to talk about how he was a ladies’ man. It was really funny and even at lunch, he would think he was a ladies’ man. Me and him would always play around with each other..like wrestling in gym class,” said a friend of the victim.
Sergio Cisneros says he was in ROTC with the victim and was near him when he was host saying bullets went flying past him.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Public Education Department released the following statement Friday:
“This is a horrendous day for New Mexico. Today’s tragic event at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque means the terrible scourge of school violence has landed on our doorstep. While many details are still unknown, we do know that shots were fired, that a child is dead, and that someone is in custody. We can only imagine the terror felt by students, teachers and staff as they took cover in a place where they should feel safe. We can only imagine the terror felt by families rushing to pick up their children, fearing the worst. And the senseless and violent death of a child in our protection is, indeed, the worst. We share in your grief and pain as we once again are called upon to reflect on our failure — as adults and as a society — to protect and preserve the lives and health of our children. We are reaching out to offer our assistance to Principal Angela Rodriguez and to Superintendent Scott Elder.”Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart and Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement Friday on the shooting:
“I am horrified and heartbroken by today’s events in Albuquerque. My thoughts go out to the students, families and staff of Washington Middle School, and my prayers are with the loved ones of the victim and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. We must continue to do everything in our power to address the scourge of gun violence in our state. These tragedies should never occur. That they do tells us there is more work to be done. My office has been and will remain in close contact with the district and local authorities as we await additional details of the investigation.”Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
“Our officers put themselves in danger to keep people safe. Today was no exception as a school police officer ran toward danger to disarm a shooter and treat the victim who had just been shot. She may have saved other lives. Sadly, a child lost his life because a classmate brought a gun to school. The boy who lost his life is also a hero. He stood up for a friend and tried to de-escalate a violent confrontation between classmates. This incident is a tragedy that has shaken our community.
Also releasing a statement Friday is Mayor Tim Keller:
“Today, Washington Middle School children, teachers, staff, and families experienced what no one should, let alone at a place we trust is safe for our children. Liz and I are grieving with Albuquerque families, who are worried about the safety of their children after seeing the news of gun violence so close to a school. Our hearts ache for the victim’s family. We’re grateful for the quick action of the school resource officer who was on scene and disarmed the suspected shooter. We have APD working closely with school officials to investigate the crime and to provide assistance needed in the coming days.”Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller
APD Chief Harold Media released the following statement late Friday night:
“It is also another example of gun violence that is victimizing families around the nation. Just last night, a violent offender shot a man at a sports bar in Northeast Albuquerque. The community support for Lawrence Anzures speaks volumes about his character and the tragic loss experienced by his family and friends. Our detectives are working hard to solve this crime and bring justice for Lawrence’s family.”APD Chief Harold Medina