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Juvenile arrested in middle school shooting

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Juvenile arrested in middle school shooting

A 12-year-old male, of Hobbs, was arrested by Hobbs police on Dec. 1 for accessory to aggravated battery after a Nov. 2 incident involving shooting a pellet gun at students, staff, and parents coming out of Highland Middle School.

According to the HPD report, as students and staff were leaving school located on the 2500 block of North Jefferson Street for the day, several individuals were shot with a “BB” gun.

Officers met with two of the victims who said one was struck in the left thigh and one was struck in the right elbow.

“(A victim) said she began to hear a clicking sound like a BB gun being shot. (The victim) said she noticed more students being struck with the unknown projectiles,” the report states. “(The victim) said the “BB’s” were coming from the Four Season’s Apartments. (The victim) said she began to seek cover and saw a group of elementary-aged school kids in the parking lot of the Four Seasons laughing.”

The victim, also a juvenile, was struck in her right elbow resulting in surgery to remove the pellet.

According to the HPD report, some north units of the Four Seasons face where people reported being struck. It was later determined this area was where the suspects shot from.

Another juvenile victim reported hearing small gunshots sounding like a “BB” gun as he was walking across the street to a church parking lot. He attempted to help another student and was struck. He also reported the shots came from the area of the 500 building of the Four Seasons.

When officers attempted to locate the juvenile believed to live in the building, the Four Seasons manager told officers she saw kids, whom she recognized from the 500 building, at the intersection of Travis and Bell.

Officers arrived on the 900 block of East Bell and spoke with the mother of the suspect’s friend. While speaking with her, one officer recognized the juvenile inside of the home to be associated with apartment building 500.

The juvenile, later identified as the suspect, told officers, “I don’t know what happened though.” The suspect told officers he came directly to the 900 block of East Bell after school.

The suspect also told officers he owned a BB gun, but “no longer has one.”

On Nov. 3, the principal of Highland identified three additional people who were struck by projectiles.

A parents of a victim told officers her son, “was struck in the right hand/wrist area. (The son) was complaining of pain and numbness in his right arm from the elbow down to his fingers. (The mother) said due to the extent of and placement of the pellet, CHH medical staff referred them to Covenant Medical Center Children’s,” according to the HPD report.

While police were conducting interviews, a student entered and told officers she saw a group of boys — identified as the suspect and his friend — as she was walking home to the Four Season’s Apartments. She told police she knows they own a BB gun.

“(The witness) initially said as she was walking home yesterday, (the friend of the suspect) was shooting a BB gun out of his bedroom window in her direction and almost shot her,” the report states. “(The witness) was asked if she was able to positively see (the friend) shooting the BB gun. However, (the witness) said she did not see a BB gun and did not actually see (the friend) shooting a gun.”

The school principal told officers a student at another school possibly saw what happened and could provide a statement.

“(The second witness) said he was waiting for his brother to get out of Highland Middle School,” the report states. “(The second witness) said he was standing in the church parking lot just west of Highland Middle School, and as he was waiting, he observed a male subject he identified to be (the suspect). (The second witness) said (the suspect) was carrying a black in color rifle near the bottom north apartments of the 500 building of Four Seasons.”

According to the report, officers also spoke with the suspect’s mother but were interrupted when a parent came in and told officers her son was struck in the back of the head while leaving school.

“While speaking with (the victim’s mother), she said the CT scan revealed the projectile was still inside (her son’s) head and she would be scheduling surgery on Tuesday,” the report states.

On Nov. 18, the victim’s mother contacted police and told them her son received a procedure to extract the metal pellet lodged inside his scalp.

When officers spoke with the mother of the suspect, she told them her apartment has six cameras facing the exterior of the apartment. She told officers there should not be a BB gun inside of her apartment due to it being at the grandmother’s house. But she said her son did go to retrieve items from the grandmother’s house on a previous date, and did not attend school the day of the incident.

According to the report, officers seized several items including cameras, computers, BBs, an Ipad, a CO2 cartridge and a gun. Because the mother is a convicted felon, the gun was removed from the apartment.

When detectives followed up with some of the victim’s parents, at least three of the victims reported having had surgery.

On Nov. 9, detectives reviewed the video feed from the suspect’s apartment.

The Nov. 2 video showed the suspect’s friend coming and knocking at the door, followed by him entering and exiting the apartment holding the black pellet rifle. The friend is seen on the video feed crouching down looking over the front porch wall of the apartment with the pellet gun in his hands. He stands up, points the barrel of the gun in the direction of Highland Middle School, looks down the sights of the pellet gun and shoots once. After shooting, the friend retreats back inside of the apartment with the pellet gun.

On a separate video on Nov. 2, the pellet gun is heard being discharged, followed by the suspect and his friend running down the stairs — with the friend handling the pellet gun.

The suspect and his friend are seen exiting the apartment on another video where the suspect is handling the pellet gun. He positions himself behind a wall out of camera view, the pellet gun is heard being discharged and the pair run back inside.

Officers responded to Highland Middle School on Nov. 15 and made contact with the mother of the suspect’s friend. The mother told officers she was withdrawing her son from school and she and her family were going to move back to Mission, Texas due to her son needing a change. She said her son stayed behind in Mission, Texas and she took the pellet gun away from him because “it got attention.” She also stated she took the gun to “the valley” referring to Mission, Texas where it currently remains.

“I asked (the mother) if the pellet gun was primarily (her sons) and she said yes, she purchased it for (her son) to shoot cans at “the ranch” in Mission, Texas,” the report states. “I asked (the mother) about her knowledge of (her son’s) involvement in the pellet gun shooting. (The mother) told me she does not know much, however, (her son) does hang out with (the suspect) a lot. (The mother) stated (her son) was with her all day, including when the incident occurred.”

When confronted with photo evidence showing her son carrying the rifle she responded, “Yes they like to take pictures with this stuff.”

On Nov. 21, officers reviewed more camera footage from inside and outside of the apartment. The cameras showed the suspect’s friend knock at the door, the door opened, and the friend wakes up the suspect.

The friend searched for the pellet gun and the suspect is heard telling him “right here” while handing him the pellet gun. The friend then loads the pellet gun, walks to the front door, walks outside, fires the gun and returns back inside.

The friend is heard laughing on the video and tells the suspect “I hit a car.” He loaded the pellet gun again and walked back outside, fires the gun and walked back in again.

After exiting the apartment to shoot the gun a second time, the friend continues to the bedroom of the apartment, which faces north. From there the school and crosswalk can be seen.

On the video, the friend came back into the living room, walked up to the suspect, pointed the pellet gun at the suspect, and placed his right cheek against the barrel of the gun to look down his sights at the suspect. The suspect is seen ducking his head and putting his arms out in an attempt to protect himself.

After the friend is seen pointing the gun at the suspect, he is seen going back outside with the gun, discharging it, and coming back inside laughing.

“(The friend) told (the suspect), “I shot the teacher,” the report states. “After (the friend) shot the ‘teacher,’ he walked over to the couch that (the suspect) was sitting on, placed the pellet gun between the two of them, and began watching videos on his phone. While watching videos, (the friend) proceeds to pick up the pellet gun, point the barrel of the gun at the (suspect’s head) and asks (the suspect), “Is this (expletive) loaded?” (The suspect) replied back saying, “Yes it is.” (The friend) moved his left hand from the barrel of the gun to the trigger while still having the barrel pointed at (the suspect’s) head.”

The friend is seen loading the gun with pellets and asking (the suspect), “In the body or in the face?”

The suspect replied, “In the body, you can kill somebody with that.”

The suspect and friend are seen exiting the apartment with the friend in possession of the gun. The two then re-enter the apartment with the friend still handling the gun. The friend is heard laughing and telling the suspect, “That expletive turned around and he was like…” while acting out a person trying to look and turn around.

Officers also reported they saw the friend walk over to the suspect, extend the gun towards the suspect in an attempt for the suspect to participate. The suspect is seen shaking his head and remained seated.

The suspect was arrested and charged with three counts of accessory to wit aggravated battery, all third-degree felonies. Because the suspect is a juvenile he was referred to the Juvenile Probation Office.

The second suspect (the suspect’s friend) has not been arrested or charged as of press time in relation to this incident.

Gabrielle Arsiaga may be reached at courts@hobbsnews.com

More online at https://www.hobbsnews.com

Hobbs Police can be reached at http://www.hobbspd.com

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