A student has been arrested for allegedly opening fire at a middle school in Albuquerque, killing at least one classmate.
The Albuquerque Police Department responded to reports of a shooting at Washington Middle School at around 12.45pm Friday.
Officials called the incident an ‘isolated shooting between two male students’ during a press conference.
Cops were seen putting the young man into handcuffs outside of the school, though his identity was not immediately known. Officials said that both the victim and the alleged shooter were 13 years old.
‘The student who fired the weapon is on our custody right now, pending an investigation. The student who was shot has unfortunately passed away,’ said Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock.
The students were all ‘made safe quickly’ by school personnel, APS School Resource Officers and a police officer who was on scene and ‘was immediately able to rush over, deescalate the situation and take the suspect into custody on scene.’
Hartsock said they don’t believe there are any other shooters or victims.
The Albuquerque Police Department responded to a shooting at Washington Middle School which left at least one student dead and another in custody
Cops were seen putting the young man into handcuffs outside of the school, though their age and identity was not immediately known
Police and emergency responders are seen at Washington Middle School after the shooting on Friday
Earlier in the day, the department had said in a statement to Twitter: ‘APD is investigating a shooting on Washington Middle School property. One victim has been transported to the hospital. A suspect is in custody, and there is no further threat to the public. Updates to follow.’
Albuquerque Public Schools said in a statement to Twitter earlier in the day that the school had been ordered to ‘shelter in place due to police activity in the area.’
The school district later added around 4pm that the campus was secure.
‘Due to the ongoing investigation, we are asking that parents pick up their children as soon as they can,’ the school district tweeted.
Scott Elder, the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, called Friday a ‘terrible day for APS, a terrible day for this community.’
‘I send out my thoughts and prayers to all of our students – to all of our families that are impacted by this horrible event,’ he said.
He said that the middle school’s staff ‘showed tremendous courage’ while keeping other students safe and calm. He said that the school will not hold classes on Monday but staff will be there working with counselors and therapists to prepare for the children to return to school.
Parents were seen picking their students up from school one-by-one after the shooting, telling local news outlets after making sure their children were safe that bullying hasn’t been taken seriously at the school.
– Washington Middle School was dismissed early Friday after the school was put on a lockdown
Classes have been cancelled for Monday while teachers and counselors prepare for students to return
Some parents told KOB that students may have had a fight on Thursday in which one student allegedly threatened to bring a gun to school.
An eighth-grader named Amari told the outlet in another video that the student who was shot was a friend of his.
‘There’s two twins who got held down and beat up, which is my friend I live next to them,’ Amari said.
‘My other friend that I made he was the one that said that’s not right, and so he went to talk to the people who did it to them and then I guess they were talking and [the suspect] said ‘I’m so done with this’ and he cocked his gun and shot him.’
One neighbor had recounted hearing six gunshots before then watching kids at recess flee back into the school, he said during an interview with KOB.
‘It’s really hard they just started school. I’m not afraid of COVID, I’m more afraid of all this violence and crime,’ Claudia De La Cruz, who was at the school to pick up her niece, told the Albuquerque Journal.
Ryan Laughlin, a reporter for KOB, noted that the student’s death marks Albuquerque’s 80th homicide so far in 2021.
‘A middle-schooler’s death ties the record number of homicides APD investigated in 2019,’ he tweeted.
Albuquerque Police Department crime statistics published on August 9 show that there were 78 homicide victims by that date in 74 separate shooting incidents. The largest number of homicides happened in May, when 20 people were killed.
According to the city’s website, Albuquerque has a population of about 560,218 people with about 910,726 people in the larger metropolitan area. It is the largest city in New Mexico.