02:09 - Source: CNN
Students shot in New Mexico gym

Story highlights

NEW: Source: The suspect had a journal at home describing "what he wanted to do"

NEW: His father bought the gun used in shooting at Walmart; other guns were locked up

This 12-year-old is accused of shooting 2 students in his school's gymnasium

His parents say a judge ordered that their son receive mental health treatment

CNN —  

He had a 20-gauge pump shotgun, which police say he personally sawed off.

He had three shells.

And he had a plan.

The 12-year-old had all these when he entered a Roswell, New Mexico, middle school gymnasium and opened fire, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Wednesday.

The first shot hit the ceiling, said New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas. The second went into the gym floor. The third sped toward the stands where, about 12 to 15 feet away, it hit two students who had been waiting with others for classes to start.

“We did find evidence that the suspect had planned this event,” Kassetas said. “I can’t discuss the particulars as to why.”

Having carried out three search warrants and conducted at least 60 “primary interviews,” Kassetas laid out these and other details related to Tuesday morning’s shooting at Berrendo Middle School. But he didn’t disclose everything, including the preteen shooter’s possible motive.

“We did find evidence that the suspect had planned this event,” Kassetas said. “I can’t discuss the particulars as to why.”

It’s a question that many in Roswell, an eastern New Mexico city of just under 50,000 people, continue to ask themselves. That, and what do they do now.

The suspect’s parents, Jim and Jennifer Campbell, and grandparents, Robert and Nancy Bowles, issued a statement Wednesday saying they are “praying that God will be with everyone who has been affected.”

They didn’t try to explain the shooter’s actions, which left “his whole family … heartbroken,” though they didn’t ignore his impact.

“For all of the anguish that many suffered yesterday,” his parents and grandparents said, “our family offers our heartfelt condolences and remorse in words that we cannot fully express.”

Victims still recovering

1 student’s condition critical, another is stable

Berrendo Middle was closed Wednesday, but it will reopen Thursday. When it does, its teachers will all become counselors, charged with helping their students deal with this tragedy even if they are scarred themselves.

School district Superintendent Tom Burris said he told those teachers: “It’s a face of courage, it’s a face of love, and it’s a face of positive that you have to put on for every one of our kids. … You are the leader that is going to lead these kids back (from) where they’ve been in the last two days.”

Two students will not be among them.

They include 13-year-old Kendal Sanders, who Gov. Susana Martinez said suffered injuries to her right shoulder in the shooting.

Her family got good news Tuesday night when doctors at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas – about 175 miles east of the school – upgraded her to stable condition. Kendal is likely to remain hospitalized for a week or more, the governor said.

The other victim, who is 12 and whom officials aren’t naming because of a request from his family, suffered injuries to the side of his face and neck, Martinez said. This boy has undergone at least two surgeries since the incident.

“He is in worse condition than Kendal,” the governor said Wednesday afternoon, “and is still listed in critical condition.”

As they recover in the west Texas hospital, Martinez urged people to keep praying for them and others affected by the violence.

“We want to be able to welcome them home,” the governor said. “We don’t want … the extreme tragedy of losing either one of them.”

Police: Suspect took parents’ gun

The suspect is being held at an unspecified location in Albuquerque and has met with his parents, Kassetas said.

He is being held at an unspecified location in Albuquerque and has met with his parents, Kassetas said.

In their statement, the parents indicated a judge “ordered … our son receive an evaluation and mental health treatment and sincerely want him to receive all of the help that he needs.”

“As a family we will cooperate in all ways with law enforcement to piece together how this awful tragedy occurred,” they said.

Kassetas did say the shotgun came from the suspect’s home. His father bought the gun – the only one of several weapons in the house not locked up in a safe – some time ago at Walmart, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

Authorities believe the 12-year-old “modified the weapon by cutting off the stock,” Kassetas said.

Three search warrants have been executed in connection with the investigation: on the suspect’s locker, his duffel bag and his Roswell home.

The law enforcement source said the suspect kept a handwritten journal at home describing “what he was planning, what he wanted to do.”

But just before he fired, authorities believe, the suspect gave “preliminary warnings … to some select students who he ran into before he entered the gymnasium,” Kassetas said.

’Hero’ teacher

Teacher John Masterson didn’t know the shooter had used all his ammunition when he walked to the student and persuaded him to put the gun down, Martinez said.

“Mr. Masterson … was a hero … who stood there and allowed a gun to be pointed right at him,” the governor said at a vigil Tuesday evening, “and to talk down that young boy to drop the gun so that there would be no more young kids hurt.”

The Berrendo staff directory lists John Masterson as an eighth-grade social studies teacher.

Masterson has taught at the school for a decade and coaches track and soccer, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

When contacted by the newspaper, he said police had told him not to discuss details of the shooting.

“It was a harrowing experience,” he told the paper. “All I can say was the staff there did a great job.”

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