Several students were injured, including two critically, Tuesday morning in a shooting at the Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M., as children were being dropped off to start their day, authorities said.
The shooter is in custody and is believed to be a student at the school, Sabrina Morales, a spokeswoman from the Roswell Police Department said.
It is unclear what led to the shooting, but nurses treating a 14-year-old boy indicated that he was the shooter’s target. KLBK reported that the other student in critical condition is a 13-year-old girl. Both students were transferred to University Medical Center Hospital in Lubbock, Texas.
Lorena Beltran told the Albuquerque Journal her daughter, who attends the school, said a male student was shot in the face.
A student who witnessed the shooting says the shooter was a boy who she thought was being bullied. Eighth grader Odiee Carranza says it happened in the school gym. She says the boy shot the 14-year-old twice in the face, and shot the girl in the arm.
Carranza says the boy then fired a shot into the sky before dropping the gun. A teacher then grabbed him.
Roswell police say the school was placed on lockdown, and the suspected shooter was arrested. Age and other details on the suspect were not immediately released.
Police say the shooting happened at 8:11 a.m. local time Tuesday.
Sixth-grade student Anyssa Vegara said she was talking to a security guard when she heard a shot.
"I turned around, and all I saw was someone on the floor with their arm bleeding," Vegara told the Journal.
She said the security guard ran to assist the injured student, and school officials ordered all the students to their classrooms.
Eventually, she was able to text her mother, Monica Vegara.
"From the time hearing about it until the time she texted, it was a nightmare," Monica Vegara said.
Fawna Hendricks, whose son is a seventh-grader at Berrendo Middle School, told the newspaper she heard about the shooting on the radio. "Basically I jumped outta bed, threw on clothes, panicked," Hendricks said.
Employees who arrived early to work at United Drilling Inc., across the street from the school, heard no gunshots. They didn't know about the commotion until around 8 a.m., when their parking lot filled with police and rescue vehicles.
At the Roswell mall, parents waited anxiously for their children. Some held hands, while others hugged each other.
"Currently, the threat has been alleviated and this incident is being investigated," read a statement from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. "There are many resources and law enforcement officers on scene securing the area."
The Berrendo Middle School has classes for sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes. The school’s enrollment is about 200 students.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.