A 12-year-old, seventh-grade student opened fire Tuesday morning at a New Mexico school, injuring at least two classmates before being taken into custody, the state's governor and New Mexico State Police confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The incident happened at Berrendo Middle School in the town of Roswell as classes were starting for the day, prompting the school to be put on lockdown.
Authorities in Roswell said the alleged shooter entered the gym where students were gathered before school and started shooting, leaving a 12-year-old boy in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl in serious condition. A staff member also received minor injuries, but refused medical care, authorities said.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said a teacher "quickly stopped" the suspect by walking up to him and asking he put down the firearm, which the suspect did.
New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that authorities believe they have the only person responsible for the shooting in custody.
Kassetas said the shooter walked into gym with the gun in a bag, adding that authorities believe the gun was concealed until the shooting started. He also said that police do not yet have a motive for the shooting.
Authorities said that they are continuing to interview hundreds of students and faculty and will be looking for any relevant information that may have been posted on social media outlets.
Police officials are expected to hold another news conference later Tuesday where additional details could be released.
Meanwhile, a witness — eighth grader Odiee Carranza — told The Associated Press that the gunman was a student who she thought was being bullied.
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 Albuquerque Journal.
Two prayer services were scheduled for Tuesday night at Roswell's Calvary Baptist and First Baptist churches. Pastor Chris Mullennix said parents were worried and heartbroken, but there was a sense among many he spoke with that the community would be able to come together.
"This is something that strikes people to the core," he said in an interview. "We're not talking about a flesh wound or just a mental wound, we're talking about the very souls of people being shaken and rocked by something like this."
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press