Family of Berrendo Middle School shooter sues CYFD

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ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The parents of Mason Campbell who fired off his father’s shotgun into a crowded gym at Berrendo Middle School is now suing the state.

It happened in January 2014 when police said the 13-year-old, a seventh-grader at the school, brought the weapon to campus and severely injured two students, Nathaniel Tavarez and Kendal Sanders.

“I never thought he would do something that bad,” said Nathaniel Tavarez in a 2015 interview.

Campbell has been in the custody of the Children, Youth and Family Department ever since.

“It’s just been a long ordeal,” said Gary Mitchell, the Campbell family’s attorney.

On Oct. 31, Campbell’s parents filed the lawsuit, claiming that while in CYFD’s care, they’ve failed to provide proper medical and mental health care, as well as education, family contact and counseling.

“There is an extensive list in our statues of what they’re supposed to do,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell said Mason, now 17, developed scoliosis and it wasn’t treated properly.  Still, despite the allegations, he said Mason is thriving and should be released.

“The sentence of the court was CYFD had custody of him up to age 21, not until age 21,” said Mitchell.

Although CYFD officials can’t comment on minors in their care, CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson said kids like Campbell are constantly reevaluated.

“They help work with the youth and their families to understand what’s going on, what are their needs, are their needs being met,” said Jacobson.

Jacobson said consideration for an early release takes more than just the child and their family feeling ready.

“Really doing the work necessary with these young folks while they’re with us to decrease the chances that they go out and commit another crime,” said Jacobson.

The Campbell family is seeking an undisclosed amount for damages, future medical expenses, and for the loss of enjoyment of life. They are also asking for a jury trial in the civil lawsuit.

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