FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – A total of 176 gunshots were fired by a teenage gunman on a Monday morning in May. It killed three, innocent women driving down the street: Shirly Voita, Melody Ivie, and her mother, Gwendolyn Schofield. Their families’ lives were changed forever.
“I think they’re conflicted. I think it’s still the shock of it, right? And how fast it happened and then the violent nature of it was traumatic and tough to come to grips with,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said.
The event was traumatic for the Farmington Police Department too. Chief Hebbe remains proud of his team that confronted 18-year-old Beau Wilson.
“As far as the officer response, they did everything they could, and risked a lot to try and do it.”
Police body camera video from May showed Farmington Police Sergeant Rachel Discenza getting hit just moments before Wilson’s shooting spree ended.
“When you watch that video, you know, it sure could have gone differently,” Hebbe said.
The chief said, now three months later, Sergeant Discenza is back on duty after making good progress.
Questions still remain on what led to the Farmington High School student going on a killing spree outside his home.
“We didn’t find a match that you can say, ‘Okay, from this moment forward, you can see something’s going to blow.’ We really didn’t find that so what led to that day, that time, and that manner will probably never know,” Hebbe said.
The chief previously pointed out that Beau Wilson legally purchased the AR15 within weeks of his 18th birthday, about six months before the mass shooting. Wilson’s dad owned the handguns he used, which the Chief said he could access in the house they shared.
Chief Hebbe claimed Wilson purchased more than 200 rounds of ammo just two days before that horrific day.
“I don’t know if he was planning it the whole time, but he was definitely accumulating increased capacity during those six months prior,” he said.
Wilson was reportedly never on the police department’s radar.
“I think the family recognized that there were issues. I don’t think that they anticipated how those would eventually play out, but they were taking steps to try and help him through a variety of means.”
We also heard his mother’s concern in a 911 call the morning of the shooting.
“I think the divorce of his parents was a stressor on him. He had had some issues at school and with the wrestling team, but it’s really hard to say what was the trigger for this cause those issues had existed,” Hebbe said.
The chief made a serious effort to stay connected with the community he serves as they continue to grieve.
“They were still suffering and traumatized. Every time, they’re driving down the street, they are remembering what had happened, and they live on that street, so within the department, we are looking at how we can come in faster with critical stress debrief sessions for the community,” Hebbe said.
As part of their investigation, Farmington police learned that not only did Wilson’s father know about his son’s purchase of an AR15, but a receipt showed he actually helped him buy the rifle.
The investigation is nearly wrapped up, and the office isn’t pursuing any criminal charges.
With a new bill on the books in New Mexico, parents can be charged for not properly locking up their weapons. In this case, Bennie’s Bill does not apply because Wilson was 18.