Aztec High School shooting
|Aztec High School shooting|
|Date||December 7, 2017(UTC–7)|
|Weapons||Glock 9 mm|
|Deaths||3 (including the perpetrator)|
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.
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.
Two students were confirmed dead, along with the alleged shooter. State authorities confirmed that there were no other injuries reported. 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. 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.
Casey Jordan Marquez, a senior, and Francisco Fernandez, a junior, were identified as the victims. Both were student-athletes at Aztec High School. Marquez was a cheerleader and Fernandez, a recent transfer to the school, played football.
William Edward Atchison|
March 18, 1996
December 7, 2017 (aged 21)|
Aztec, New Mexico
|Cause of death||Self-inflicted gunshot wound|
December 7, 2017|
|Location(s)||Aztec, New Mexico|
|Target(s)||Students at Aztec High School|
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. 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. 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.
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. He also posted about his frustration with life in rural New Mexico and bleak career prospects. Atchison was also a sysop in Encyclopedia Dramatica, a website he joined when he was 11.
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.
- Gun violence in the United States
- List of rampage killers (Americas)
- List of school shootings in the United States
- List of school-related attacks
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