Shot Fired at Suburban Albuquerque High School

February 14, 2019 Updated: February 14, 2019

RIO RANCHO, N.M.—A shot was fired on Feb. 14, on the grounds of a suburban Albuquerque high school. Police and school officials said no one was injured and a suspect was in custody.

The V. Sue Cleveland High School in the community of Rio Rancho was evacuated, police said, and worried parents rushed to the school after getting calls from their children. More than 2,500 students attend the high school.

Rio Rancho Police Chief Stewart Steele said that a male student suspected of using a handgun to fire the shot before school started had been taken into custody and was being questioned by authorities. They did not immediately identify a motive.

While there were no injuries and students at the school were quickly evacuated, the incident still sent shockwaves through the sprawling suburb north of New Mexico’s largest city, Steele said.

“It was extremely scary,” Steele said. “We just thank God it ended the way it did.”

He said the student, who has not been identified by authorities, had fled the school after opening fire and left the weapon behind. He was caught running away, authorities said.

The shooting occurred around 7 a.m. before school was scheduled to start. Police believe the shot had been fired inside a hallway.

School officials said on Twitter that all students were safe, and the district’s other schools were open. They did not know when classes would resume at V. Sue Cleveland High School.

Kristy Berberich said outside the high school that her 16-year-old son called her immediately after students heard a gunshot.

“I was worried sick but I knew he was safe,” she said.

Police and school officials advised parents to stay away from the school and to await word on a plan to pick up students, who were taken to an arena about 3 miles from the school.

In Rio Rancho, school buses shuttled students to the nearby event center as police cordoned off the school and blocked roads leading to the campus. While no details were immediately released about the suspect in custody or the circumstances of the gunshot, police planned a briefing later Thursday.

Accidental Shootings

Far fewer Americans fall victim to firearm accidents than some two decades ago, even though people own more guns, according to new data.

Accidental firearm discharges killed 486 people in 2017, down more than 50 percent since 1997, according to mortality data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Meanwhile, gun sales increased more than 80 percent between 1999 and 2017, according to The DataFace, a San Francisco data analysis company, which based its estimates on FBI background check data.