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Man shooting in New Mexico leaves at least 4 dead

 May 16, 2023

In a horrific incident that unfolded Monday in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, four individuals, including an 18-year-old male suspect, were killed, and two police officers were injured, according to local law enforcement.

The Farmington Police Department confirmed that the suspect was armed with multiple weapons and reportedly fired about 100 rounds within 20 minutes, as reported by the Daily Times.

"It was a devastating day," said Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe in a Monday night video. He added that the young suspect, who was shot by the police and died at the scene, seemed to have targeted victims randomly.

The violent rampage damaged at least six homes and three vehicles. The assailant reportedly used three different weapons, one of which was an AR-style rifle, according to Hebbe. The police were alerted about the shooting around 10:57 a.m. on Monday. Arriving officers encountered a chaotic scene as the shooter was still active.

Law Enforcement's Response and Investigation

"Four officers from the Farmington Police Department confronted the subject and were successful in neutralizing the threat," Deputy Police Chief Baric Crum reported.

Among the six individuals injured in the shooting, two were police officers. The state police officer remains hospitalized, while the Farmington officer has been released after treatment, NBC News reported.

Investigators are probing the possible motives behind the shooting, which will include talking to the suspect's family members and examining collected evidence.

"At this early stage, it seems the attack was completely random with no specific victims being targeted," Hebbe said.

He also disclosed that the suspect traveled within the neighborhood for approximately a quarter-mile, firing three weapons. Initial concerns about a possible second shooter led to a temporary lockdown of nearby schools, which Hebbe later dismissed.

Authorities are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the police.

Community and Government Reaction

In response to the tragic incident, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Luján Grisham expressed her deep anguish and extended her prayers to the victims' families, the injured, and the entire Farmington community. In a statement, Gov. Michelle thanked the police for a quick response.

The local school district initiated a lockdown of all Farmington Municipal Schools at 11:15 a.m., a measure that was lifted by 1:05 p.m. The investigation also involves agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

In a joint statement, New Mexico's congressional delegation — Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján and Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández, Melanie Stansbury, and Gabe Vasquez — expressed their devastation over the incident. They also thanked the first responders and pledged to combat gun violence through federal legislation.

Reactions From Local Leaders

Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett characterized the violent incident as a horrific tragedy. He confirmed that the injuries sustained by the two officers were not life-threatening and praised the swift response by the police, which he believes saved more lives. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families during this incomprehensible time of pain and loss," Duckett said.

Recent Spate of Gun Violence

The Farmington shooting follows two other mass shootings in the past nine days. Two people were killed, and five others were injured in a shooting on a Saturday night in Yuma, Arizona, according to local police. The victims were all male; two, aged 19 and 20, were pronounced dead at the Yuma Regional Medical Center.

A week before the Yuma incident, a gunman killed eight people at a Dallas-area outlet mall. The 33-year-old suspect, armed with an AR-15-style weapon, was killed by an officer who happened to be at the shopping center in Allen, authorities reported.

The victims of this tragic incident included a young boy and his parents, two elementary school-age sisters, a security guard working toward personal goals, and an engineer who had recently obtained his master’s degree.