A 13-year-old boy was arrested for allegedly opening fire at Albuquerque middle school on Friday and killing at least one of his classmates, authorities said. The shooting was a lone incident when one student fatally shot another student in the schoolyard during lunch break at Washington Middle School, Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said in a press conference.
The incident took place around 12:45 pm, following which officers immediately responded to the reports of the shooting. The young boy has been arrested but his name hasn't been revealed yet as investigation is ongoing and the motive behind the shooting is still unclear.
Police have described the shooting as an isolated incident and were seen handcuffing the 13-year-old outside the school on Friday afternoon. The victim too was a 13-year-old but hasn't been identified. "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 moment gunshots were heard, the students were "made safe quickly" by school personnel. A school resource officer and a police officer, who were nearby, immediately rushed to the scene and were able to "de-escalate the situation."
The gunman was soon apprehended by the school personnel, police said. No other students were injured. Hartsock said they don't believe there are any other shooters or victims.
An investigation has been launched and police are looking into how the teen got the weapon, according to local media reports. "It's just a terrible day for APS. It's a terrible day for this community," Scott Elder, superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, said.
Gun Violence on the Rose
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 announcement came after an earlier statement from the police wherein they tweeted: "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."
The school later confirmed that the campus was secure. 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."
Although only one student was killed, a neighbor told KRQE TV that at least six gunshots were heard during the fatal shooting. Most students were out in the schoolyard then since it was lunchtime. "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."
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.