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The Latest: Police identify victims of school shooting

By: Associated Press
December 7, 2017 Updated: December 7, 2017 at 11:48 pm
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photo - Police escort buses moving students and faculty from Aztec High School after a shooting Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Aztec, N.M. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times via AP)
Police escort buses moving students and faculty from Aztec High School after a shooting Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Aztec, N.M. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times via AP) 

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a shooting at a New Mexico high school (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Authorities have identified two students who were killed when a gunman opened fire Thursday at a New Mexico high school.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office said in a post on social media the victims were Casey J. Marquez and Francisco I. Fernandez.

Friends were sharing their condolences on Marquez's Facebook page, which displayed photos of the teen in her cheerleading outfit. Fernandez's friends shared photos on his page and wore T-shirts that memorialized him during a candlelight vigil late Thursday.

Hundreds of friends and family members braved frigid temperatures to gather at a park in the community of Aztec to honor the two students.

Authorities have yet to identify the gunman and have not released any details about what prompted the shooting. They planned another news conference Friday morning.

___

4 p.m.

Police got initial reports of gunfire at a New Mexico school shortly after first period began.

Authorities say Aztec High School was locked down and officers responded in less than a minute Thursday.

Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal said officers were able to get into the school through a window and a door and that immediate actions by law enforcement and others helped keep more students safe.

Heal and other authorities were tightlipped at a news conference Thursday, releasing few details other than confirming that the gunman and two victims were dead. No one else was injured.

Officials previously said all three were students.

Heal vowed to get to the bottom of what prompted the shooting, but authorities said they have a lot of evidence to process and interviews to do.

___

3:15 p.m.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says several acts of bravery helped save lives during a deadly shooting at a small-town high school.

Authorities say a student opened fire Thursday at Aztec High School, killing two classmates. The shooter also died.

Martinez told reporters that teachers, school staff and law enforcement jumped in quickly to prevent more deaths. She did not provide any details.

The governor described the day as difficult and called the shooting a heinous and horrific act. She called for New Mexicans to unite and support the small community of Aztec.

Authorities haven't identified the shooter or the victims. They also haven't provided any details about what led to the shooting or how it unfolded.

___

2:10 p.m.

A student at a New Mexico high school says he huddled in a locked classroom as a shooter opened fire and killed two classmates.

Aztec High School sophomore Garrett Parker tells Albuquerque television station KOAT that he was upstairs in history class when he heard what he initially thought was students banging on lockers Thursday.

As the noise got louder and closer, school officials warned over the intercom system that it wasn't a drill.

Parker says he's thankful his teacher always locks the classroom door. He and other students moved to a corner of the room out of sight of the door and hid.

Authorities have released few details of the shooting in the small town of Aztec near the Four Corners region, other than to say the suspect and two victims were students.

___

11:05 a.m.

New Mexico State Police say the suspect in a high school shooting is among the three dead.

Police didn't release details about the shooter but confirmed the other two people killed Thursday at Aztec High School were students.

The school was cordoned off as deputies with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office and other police agencies cleared the buildings. Students were taken to another location.

Other schools in the area also were locked down as a precaution. Authorities say it could be a few hours before the lockdowns are lifted.

A crowd of nervous parents gathered at Aztec City Hall to wait for more information as officers tried to reassure them about the safety of their children.

State and federal authorities are investigating what led to the shooting.

___

10:25 a.m.

Authorities say three people are dead following a shooting at a New Mexico high school.

San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told reporters that three people believed to be students died Thursday at Aztec High School. He says the shooter also was dead but didn't say if the suspect was among the three.

Authorities said they had cleared all the buildings at the school and that students were boarding buses to another location where they could be reunited with their parents.

Deputies with the sheriff's office and surrounding police departments responded to the school after reports of a shooting. Federal agents and state police are investigating.

The school is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation.

___

9:40 a.m.

Authorities are responding to a shooting at a high school in northwest New Mexico.

Deputies with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office told reporters that a suspect was in custody but they did not release any other information.

Sheriff Ken Christesen confirms the shooting at Aztec High School on Thursday morning. He did not say whether anyone had been injured or killed.

The school is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation.

Authorities say the school was placed on lockdown and evacuated. Other schools in the area were also locked down, and authorities were setting up staging areas where parents could gather and wait for more information.

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