Students hid in classrooms
AZTEC, N.M.» Students hid in their classrooms, some behind locked doors or in closets, as a gunman opened fire Thursday inside a high school, killing two classmates before he ended up dead.
Authorities and other officials in the town of Aztec near the Colorado state line have released few details other than to say the shooter and victims attended Aztec High School.
No other injuries were reported, and it was not clear if the shooter died by suicide or was killed by police.
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.
“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 hei- nous and horrific act and told reporters that teachers, school staff members and law enforcement officials 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.
Authorities checked each room and each building at the school before the students were bused to another location, where they were reunited with parents.
The high school remained cordoned off as the community prepared for a prayer vigil Thursday night. Aztec is a rural town of 6,500 people in oil and gas country.