Some Kids May Have Had Warning Before NM Shooting

Social studies teacher hailed as hero for convincing shooter to drop gun

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 15, 2014 7:02 AM CST | Updated Jan 15, 2014 8:30 AM CST

(Newser) – The 12-year-old boy being held in the shooting of two classmates yesterday at a middle school in Roswell, NM, may have warned other students before the attack. "We have preliminary information that possibly some of the students were warned by the individual prior to the shooting not to go to school," the state police chief said last night, as per CNN. The shooter went into the gym at Berrendo Middle School yesterday morning, where about 500 students were gathered before class to avoid the cold, and opened fire with a sawed-off .20-gauge shotgun. According to reports, teacher John Masterson walked up to the suspect and convinced him to put the gun down, even though the 7th-grader was pointing it at him at the time. "[Masterson] stood there and allowed the gun to be pointed right at him so there would be no more young kids hurt," said Gov. Susana Martinez at a prayer vigil last night, according to NBC News. She calls him "an amazing man."

An off-duty police officer who happened to be dropping his son off at school ran to help, and took the suspect into custody. But all Masterson himself would tell the Albuquerque Journal is this: "It was a harrowing experience. All I can say was the staff there did a great job." The Journal identifies the shooter as Mason Campbell, who is currently at a psychiatric hospital; an uncle says his family is "prayerful." A written statement is expected from the family today. Police disputed initial reports that the wounded 11-year-old boy (who remains in critical condition) was the intended target, and say they still don't have a motive, the AP reports. The wounded 13-year-old girl, identified as Kendal Sanders, has been upgraded to stable condition.

Two New Mexico State Police officers stand guard holding semi-automatic rifles outside the home of Mason Campbell, the alleged shooter at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, NM, Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014.
Two New Mexico State Police officers stand guard holding semi-automatic rifles outside the home of Mason Campbell, the alleged shooter at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, NM, Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014.   (AP Photo//Albuquerque Journal, Pat Vasquez-Cunningham)
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