Family of Aztec High School shooting victim files wrongful death lawsuit

New Mexico

AZTEC, N.M. (KRQE) – New details have been revealed in a lawsuit over the Aztec school shooting. The family of one of the victim’s claims the school district should have better secured the school, and that police didn’t properly investigate when the shooter was put on their radar.

It was December 2017 when former student William Atchison shot and killed Casey Marquez and Paco Fernandez inside Aztec High School. Despite a quick police response, a new lawsuit says the district and police didn’t do enough to prevent the shooting from happening in the first place.

The 32-page lawsuit says back when Atchison was a student in 2012, he was suspended for “memorializing the Columbine school shooting” by writing a schedule of the shooting on a classroom whiteboard. The lawsuit claims Atchison never went back to class and eventually dropped out, with no follow up from the school.

It also says a year before the shooting, the FBI found a post Atchison made on a gaming site about his plans and they reported it to Aztec Police. However, the lawsuit says police never shared that information with the school district or the school resource officer, and didn’t investigate it themselves.

It goes on to say that weeks before killing Casey and Paco, Atchison visited Aztec High to surveil the school. A teacher reported escorting him around to let him “see how things had changed.”

The lawsuit also notes a security business looked at the school in 2013. It suggested locking doors once class started and putting up more fencing to secure the perimeter, but the superintendent did not make those changes.

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