DA files charges in school shooting

January 15, 2014 • Local News

Gov. Susana Martinez addresses the media during a press conference Wednesday at Berrendo Middle School. RISD Superintendent Tom Burris, far right, also gave remarks. Berrendo Middle School will resume classes today, after two students were shot Tuesday by another student. Mason Campbell, 12, has been charged [auth] with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. (Mark Wilson Photo)

District Attorney Janetta Hicks filed charges Wednesday afternoon in 5th District Court against Mason P. Campbell, 12, for the shooting at Berrendo Middle School. He is charged with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after he shot and wounded three people, two juveniles and one adult, inside the building.

The petition signed by District Court Judge Freddie Romero states that Mason “intended to injure” the three victims, although New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas called the shootings random during a press conference held Wednesday.

Campbell reportedly entered the school with the weapon concealed in a duffle bag around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, went into the gymnasium, which was occupied by 500 students and opened fire.

Kassetas confirmed that the weapon used was a shotgun with the hand stock sawed off. Three rounds were expended, the first into the ceiling and the remaining two went into the stands. The victims were shot at a 12 to 15 foot distance.

Kassetas said officers worked throughout the night.

“We completed searches of the locker, the duffle bag and the residence on Sycamore. … There were indicators that Campbell had planned this event.”

Gov. Susana Martinez reported that Kendal Sanders, 13, who was shot in the right shoulder and underwent surgery in Lubbock, Texas, is now listed in stable condition. The second victim, a 12-year-old boy, was shot in the neck and the face. Martinez noted that he had gone through two surgeries, but remains in critical condition.

The third victim was Kevin Hayes, a school security guard. According to Martinez, Hayes had his back turned when the first shot was fired. He approached Campbell to assist with efforts to disarm him and was hit by shotgun pellets.

Social studies teacher John Masterson was hailed a hero after he told the student to put the gun down.

“These children are not the same children that came into school yesterday,” Martinez said. She encouraged the students and parents to take advantage of counseling services and provided a contact number, 575-623-1486.

She said she was touched when she spoke with one student who reported that he was “OK.”

“I’m trying to push it, shove it down,” he said. However, she remarked: “It will come out at some point.”

Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Tom Burris said he was gratified at the support that he had received from other school superintendents across the nation.

He complimented the staff and law enforcement, which he credited to the active shooter-lockdown training they had received. “The whole thing went like clockwork.”

The emphasis for the school will be the children. “Our teachers face a very difficult day. Every teacher is preparing for how to deal with the children. … I have confidence in our teachers,” said Burris.

Martinez said she wanted to remind everyone how strong Roswell is.

Mason was taken to the Child Psychiatric Unit in Albuquerque. Each charge is considered a third-degree felony, but New Mexico Statutes handle cases with juvenile offenders differently.

The New Mexico Juvenile Justice Handbook of April 2011, states a child is committed to a facility for the care and rehabilitation of adjudicated delinquent children. They may be up to the age of 21 if he or she commits a violent felony.

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