'Not a Drill': Students Hid in Classrooms as Shooter Kills 2 - NBC Chicago
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

'Not a Drill': Students Hid in Classrooms as Shooter Kills 2

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez called the shooting a heinous and horrific act

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    A shooting at Aztec High School in New Mexico has left three dead. (Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017)

    Students hid in their classrooms, some behind locked doors or in closets, as a gunman opened fire Thursday inside a New Mexico high school, killing two classmates before he died.

    Authorities in the small town of Aztec near the Colorado border have released few details other than to say the two victims — Casey J. Marquez and Francisco I. Fernandez — attended Aztec High School. The identity of the shooter has yet to be released.

    No other injuries were reported, and it was not clear if the shooter died by suicide or was killed by police.

    The San Juan County Sheriff's Office in a post on social media asked for the community to pray for the families of Marquez and Fernandez.

    Friends were sharing their condolences on Marquez's Facebook page, which displayed photos of the teen in her cheerleading outfit. Fernandez's friends posted on his page and wore T-shirts that memorialized him during a candlelight vigil that brought together hundreds of mourners late Thursday.

    Authorities planned to release more information Friday.

    Bryn Divine, a senior, said she was sitting at her desk in her history class when she heard gunshots erupt down the hall. At first, it sounded as if someone was swinging a metal baseball bat against the lockers.

    Then she heard an announcer over the school intercom tell students: "This is not a drill."

    "I stayed in my desk, and I just prayed, 'Please just let this be over as soon as possible.' That was my first reaction," she said.

    Sophomore Garrett Parker told Albuquerque television station KOAT that he also heard what he thought was banging on the lockers. Then it got louder and closer.

    Scenes From the Ground: Commuters Evacuated After Explosion Rocks Major Transit Hub

    [NATL] Scenes From the Ground: Blast Rocks Port Authority Bus Terminal

    Pedestrians and early morning commuters were evacuated from the Port Authority Bus Terminal after a suspect detonated an IED in an underground passageway. The terminal is the world's busiest, according to its agency. 

    (Published Monday, Dec. 11, 2017)

    "Thankfully our teacher always locks the door no matter what. So he kept that locked," Parker said. "When they called over the intercom that it was not a drill, we went to the corner of the room out of sight from the door and just started hiding."

    Gov. Susana Martinez called the shooting a heinous and horrific act and told reporters that teachers, school staff and law enforcement jumped in quickly to prevent more deaths. She didn't provide more details.

    Police responded to the school less than a minute after getting the initial calls, which came shortly after the start of the first period. With the school in lockdown, they got inside through a window and a door.

    Elf on a Shelf Has Surgery, Doing Fine

    [NATL] Elf on a Shelf Has Surgery, Doing Fine

    Staff members at a children's hospital in Florida performed "surgery" on an elf on a shelf after a dog ripped off one of its arms.

    (Published 3 hours ago)

    Authorities checked each room and building at the school before the students were bused to another location where they were reunited with their parents.

    The school remained cordoned off as people braved frigid temperatures for the vigil at a nearby park.

    David Stone, 16, and Heaven Angelica Hughes, 15, huddled with friends in below-freezing temperatures to light candles and exchange stories. Both were in a classroom next to the shootings.

    Wildfires Persist Throughout Dry, Windy Southern California

    [NATL] Wildfires Persist Throughout Dry, Windy Southern California

    A new front in the California fire fight opened up in San Diego County Thursday, and the dry, windy conditions fueling the blaze were expected to persist into the weekend.

    (Published Friday, Dec. 8, 2017)

    "I still can't believe what happened," Stone said. He said one of the victims was his cousin.

    Aztec is a rural town of 6,500 people in the heart of northwestern New Mexico's oil and gas country and near the Navajo Nation. Its main street is lined by old brick buildings that date back more than a century.

    Local, state and federal authorities said at a news conference that they had a lot of evidence to process and many interviews to conduct. They also were asking any students who might have seen something to call police.

    Police Shoots Unarmed, Crawling Man in Arizona Hotel

    [NATL] Police Shoots and Kills Unarmed, Crawling Man in Arizona Hotel

    Video released by the Maricopa County Superior Court shows the moment a former Mesa, Ariz., police officer shot and killed Daniel Shaver as Shaver, unarmed, crawled towards police on the floor. Philip Brailsford, part of the police team who answered a call of a man pointing a gun out of a hotel window, was cleared of a murder charge for his role in the 2016 shooting. 

    (Published Friday, Dec. 8, 2017)

    School Superintendent Kirk Carpenter choked up, describing it as a tough day.

    "At schools, our primary role and our primary job is to educate students and keep them safe, and when you have something like this, it hits you in the heart," he said.

    Aztec school officials say schools across town that shut down Thursday will likely stay closed Friday.

    Residents voiced disbelief on social media, while members of the New Mexico congressional delegation, state Attorney General Hector Balderas and other elected officials offered their condolences and other assistance.

    Associated Press writers Mary Hudetz and Susan Montoya Bryan contributed to this report.