Teen Planned to Shoot Ex-girlfriend at School, Documents Say

February 16, 2019 Updated: February 16, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A note found in a 16-year-old boy’s pocket indicated that he had planned to kill his ex-girlfriend and others on Valentine’s Day, when he fired a gunshot inside his high school, according to documents filed by authorities in court.

No one was injured in the shooting that happened on Thursday, Feb. 14, the morning before classes started at V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque.

A witness had told authorities in a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Albuquerque Journal on Friday that the 16-year-old suspect had approached three other students sitting in an alcove before opening fire.

A school bus evacuates students
A school bus evacuates students from Sue V. Cleveland High School after a shot was fired on the campus in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on Feb. 14, 2019. (Russell Contreras/AP Photo)

The Associated Press is not naming the suspect because of his age. He is facing charges of attempting to commit murder and unlawfully carrying a deadly weapon onto school grounds. Online court records do not yet list a defense attorney who could provide comment on the boy’s behalf.

He is being detained at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center after being questioned Thursday.

School officials said on Twitter that all students were safe, and the district’s other schools were open. They announced later Thursday that classes at the high school would be postponed until Tuesday, Feb. 19, the day after Presidents’ Day.

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 have not said where the suspect got the gun he carried onto school grounds on the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre that killed 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—the deadliest high school shooting in the nation’s history.

In New Mexico, it is a misdemeanor offense for a person younger than the age of 19 to be in possession of a firearm.

Citing school surveillance video, police said the teen wore a ski mask that he took off before entering the building around 7 a.m. Thursday.

The witness, who was among the students in the alcove, said the boy pointed the handgun at the group, and at first, it did not go off.

Police block the entrance of Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on Feb. 14, 2019, as parents wait outside after news of a gunshot on campus. (Russell Contreras/AP Photo)

A shot then went off after the suspect manipulated the weapon and pulled the trigger, the witness told officers.

Police said the boy also intended to kill himself, but instead, he put down the weapon after firing a shot and ran to a dry wash where he was arrested.

A teacher told police she received a text from the suspect in which he reportedly said: “the voices won’t stop.” He also said “sorry” in the message and asked if anyone had been hurt.

By Russell Contreras And Mary Hudetz

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