A 13-year-old boy was arrested after he allegedly fatally shot a classmate at their Albuquerque middle school on Friday, authorities said.
The shooting was a “lone incident” in which one student shot another in the schoolyard during lunch break at Washington Middle School, Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said in a press conference.
A school resource officer was able to “de-escalate the situation” and apprehend the gunman, police said. No other students were injured.
Police are looking into how the shooter — who wasn’t immediately publicly identified — got the weapon, local reports said.
“It’s just a terrible day for APS. It’s a terrible day for this community,” Scott Elder, superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, said.
Elder thanked the brave staff of the middle school for protecting the children during and after the shooting, saying they “showed tremendous courage and strength in keeping the other students safe and calm and got them out safely to their families, especially our school resource officer who ran towards the event and tried to help.”
There will be no classes on Monday, Elder said, however, staff will be “working with counselors and therapists to help prepare so that when the children return we’ll be equipped to handle them and their concerns in coming back to the school.”
One neighbor told KRQE 13 he heard about six gunshots ring out while students were outside in the schoolyard.
“Here we are 10 minutes later and there’s cops everywhere,” Ross Rader told the outlet. “I’m frightened right now … We’ve been experiencing a lot of crime on this block recently.”
According to KRQE 13, parents and students said there was a fight at the school on Thursday, but it is unclear if the students in the shooting are the same involved in the argument.
The New Mexico Public Education Department released a statement in response to the shooting, calling it a “horrendous day” for the state.
“Today’s tragic event at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque means the terrible scourge of school violence has landed on our doorstep. While many details are still unknown, we do know that shots were fired, that a child is dead, and that someone is in custody.”
“The senseless and violent death of a child in our protection is, indeed, the worst,” the statement said. We share in your grief and pain as we once again are called upon to reflect on our failure — as adults and as a society — to protect and preserve the lives and health of our children.”