UPDATE: Police say William Atchison, 21, disguised himself as a student to get into Aztec High School in New Mexico where he killed two students on Thursday.
Atchison, a former student at Aztec High School left a message on a thumb drive found on his body detailing how he planned the attack.
December 7, 2017 Law enforcement officials in Aztec, New Mexico have confirmed that two people and a shooter were killed Thursday in a shooting at Aztec High School.
San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told reporters that three people, all believed to be students were killed in a shooting at Aztec High School. New Mexico Police confirmed via Twitter the shooter was among the the deceased.
Aztec is located in San Juan County, a small town in northwest New Mexico, approximately three hours from Albuquerque.
Thursday’s school shooting isn’t the first in the state of New Mexico. In 2014, a seventh grade student walked into the gymnasium of a middle school in Roswell, New Mexico armed with a 20-gauge, sawed-off shotgun and opened fire. Two students were seriously wounded before a teacher persuaded the 12-year-old boy to put down his gun and surrender.
Since the 1999 Columbine massacre in Colorado, school shootings in the United States have become routine — some on live television. Mass shootings at educational institutions including Virginia Tech in 2007 and Sandy Hook in 2012, that were once considered unthinkable, have over time become the norm.
In November, The New York Times reported that according to a 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association titled “Stress in America,” violence and crime was one of the five most common sources of stress in the United States. People interviewed after mass shootings frequently express a sense that nowhere is safe anymore: not school, not work, not church, not clubs, not concerts, not movie theaters or malls or Walmarts.
The raging gun debate continues, and with every mass shooting the controversy grows. Gun control law advocates argue the Second Amendment was intended for militias and stricter gun laws will reduce violence. Second Amendment advocates argue the constitution protects an individual’s right to own guns and gun ownership deters crime.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."