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FBI: New Mexico School Gunman Chose Victims Randomly

RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press
December 08, 2017 01:11 PM

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) - Authorities say the gunman who killed two students randomly at a New Mexico high school Thursday was carrying out a planned attack.

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San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told reporters Friday that 21-year-old William Atchison of the small town of Aztec had legally purchased a 9mm Glock pistol a month ago.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas says the shooter had multiple magazines with him and went to a bathroom after disguising himself as a student to get into Aztec High School.

He says Francisco I. Fernandez had excused himself from class to go to the bathroom and was immediately shot. Kassetas says Atchison then walked into the hallway, encountered Casey J. Marquez and killed her.

Authorities say he walked up and down the hallway, firing randomly and into classrooms. Christesen called the shooting a cowardly act and said the shooter was determined to create as much carnage as he could.

Officials say they believe Atchison shot himself.

Christesen on Friday shared a message the gunman had written before the shooting on Thursday morning.He wrote that work, school and life was bad and he wanted out.

Authorities said the gunman lived with his parents in Aztec and had worked at a gas station.

Gunman had been investigated

The FBI says Atchison made online comments last year by had led them to conduct an investigation.

Terry Wade, FBI special agent in charge in Albuquerque, told reporters Friday that Atchison made generic comments in a gaming forum and the agency checked databases and interviewed him and his family in March 2016.

Wade says the man didn't have a gun at that time and told agents that he had no plans for an attack. He also didn't have ties to any organizations.

The FBI closed the investigation when it determined no crime was committed.


Credits

RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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