Aztec High School shooting

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Aztec High School shooting
Aztec High School is located in New Mexico
Aztec High School
Aztec High School
Aztec High School (New Mexico)
Aztec High School is located in the US
Aztec High School
Aztec High School
Aztec High School (the US)
Location
Coordinates 36°49′15″N 107°59′26″W / 36.82083°N 107.99056°W / 36.82083; -107.99056Coordinates: 36°49′15″N 107°59′26″W / 36.82083°N 107.99056°W / 36.82083; -107.99056
Date December 7, 2017 (2017-12-07) (UTC–7)
Target Students
Attack type
School shooting
Weapons Glock 9 mm
Deaths 3 (including the perpetrator)[1]
Perpetrator William Atchison
Motive Unknown
Atchison's timeline note via San Juan County Sheriff's Office

On December 7, 2017, gunfire erupted at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, United States. The shooter, 21-year-old William Atchison, a former student at the school, killed two students, went inside the classroom where students had barricaded themselves in a small office area and shot several magazines, and then committed suicide.

Shooting[edit]

William Atchison walked into Aztec High School disguised as a student and armed with a handgun. He opened fire in the 800-900 building (top floor) hallway. A school custodian, Thomas Hill, chased after the gunman and the custodian shouted "active shooter", "lockdown". Katie Potter, a 74-year-old substitute teacher heard the gunshots, locked down her 17 students into her office, and barricaded the door with a couch. The shooter fired multiple rounds through her office wall. San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen credited their swift action with saving many lives.[2]

Two students were confirmed dead, along with the alleged shooter. State authorities confirmed that there were no other injuries reported.[3][4][5] Officials said that Aztec police received a call about the shooting about 8:00 a.m.

Students were in class at the time, and heard what they thought was someone punching the lockers. As the noise became louder, they realized it was gunfire.[6] Teachers and students hid in locked classrooms until they were told by officials to walk out of the room toward the back of the building and the parking lot; they were later picked up by their parents at McGee Park.[6]

Victims[edit]

Casey Jordan Marquez, a senior, and Francisco Fernandez, a junior, were identified as the victims.[7] Both were student-athletes at Aztec High School. Marquez was a cheerleader and Fernandez, a recent transfer to the school, played football.[8]

Perpetrator[edit]

William Atchison
Born William Edward Atchison
March 18, 1996[9]
Died December 7, 2017 (aged 21)
Aztec, New Mexico
Cause of death Self-inflicted gunshot wound
Nationality American
Details
Date December 7, 2017
c.  8:04am
Location(s) Aztec, New Mexico
Target(s) Students at Aztec High School
Killed 2
Injured 0

William Edward Atchison (March 18, 1996 – December 7, 2017) lived in Aztec, New Mexico, with his parents, and was a former student at Aztec High School, but did not graduate.[9] He worked at a local gas station. When Atchison entered Aztec High School on December 7, 2017 at approximately 8:04 a.m., he was "disguised as a student", and carrying a backpack with a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol inside.[10] Atchison was investigated by the FBI in March 2016 due to posts he had made on an online forum indicating that he was planning a shooting, but was not charged because he had not committed a crime and did not own a gun at the time. He had legally purchased the pistol used in the attack in November 2017.[11][12]

Atchison's online activity included posting pro-Hitler and pro-Trump thoughts on alt-right forums and white nationalist websites like The Daily Stormer under such usernames as "Future Mass Shooter" and "Adam Lanza", and joking about school shootings, in particular the Columbine High School massacre. Via a Steam chat group he was in contact with the perpetrator of the 2016 Munich shooting.[13][14] He also posted about his frustration with life in rural New Mexico and bleak career prospects.[15][16] Atchison was also a sysop in Encyclopedia Dramatica, a website he joined when he was 11.[17]

At Atchison’s home a schedule for the killings was found, with the last entry being "8[a.m.] Die". He also had a thumb drive on his person with the same schedule. He had no criminal history; however, he was investigated by the FBI in 2016 when he had asked on an internet forum "where to find cheap assault rifles for a mass shooting". The shooter told the FBI that he was simply trolling, and thereafter the FBI dropped the matter.[2][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Mexico High School Shooting: 3 Dead, Including Suspect". People. December 7, 2017. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Inside Edition Staff (December 9, 2017). "Substitute teacher and custodian hailed heroes after New Mexico school shooting". AOL.com. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  3. ^ "Two students killed in Aztec High School shooting in New Mexico". NBC News. December 7, 2017. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "What we know about the deadly Aztec High School shooting". KOAT-TV. December 7, 2017. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Aztec High School shooting: 2 students killed, shooter dead, police say". CNN. December 8, 2017. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Aztec High School shooting: 2 slain students identified". CNN. December 7, 2017. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "Authorities identify two victims in shooting at Aztec High School". The Durango Herald. December 8, 2017. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  8. ^ "Both victims were student-athletes at Aztec High". KOB. December 8, 2017. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Who Is William Atchison? New Mexico Police Identify Aztec High School Shooter". ibtimes.com. December 8, 2017. Archived from the original on December 10, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  10. ^ Grover, Hannah (December 8, 2017). "Investigators: Aztec High School shooter had timeline, deadly plans". Farmington Daily Times. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  11. ^ "Investigators: New Mexico high school shooter had timeline, deadly plans". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  12. ^ CNN, Eric Levenson and Laura Diaz-Zuniga,. "NM high school shooter was investigated by FBI in 2016". cnn.com. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  13. ^ ARD (May 15, 2018). "Ermittlungsfehler nach dem Anschlag in München". Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Farmington Daily Times (April 17, 2018). "Aztec school shooter reached out to other school shooters, planned killings online". Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Dupuy, Beatrice (December 15, 2017). "White Man Behind School Shooting Was Obsessed With Trump and Hitler". Newsweek. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  16. ^ Preza, Elizabeth (December 15, 2017). "New Mexico school shooter was radicalized on white supremacist pro-Trump websites". Raw Story. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Zadrozny, Brandy; Collins, Ben (15 December 2017). "New Mexico School Shooter Had Secret Life on Pro-Trump White-Supremacy Sites". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  18. ^ Contreras, Russell (December 8, 2017). "New Mexico school shooter left note plotting attack, suicide". ABC News. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.