Cops: Gunman Disguised Self, Randomly Killed at School
FBI contacted New Mexico school shooter more than a year ago
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 8, 2017 2:47 PM CST
Aztec High School students and area residents gather for a candlelight vigil in Aztec, N.M., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, after a shooting at the high school.   (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
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(Newser) – A 21-year-old gunman who disguised himself as a student to get into a New Mexico high school where he killed two students had caught the attention of US investigators more than a year ago, authorities said Friday. William Atchison, a former student at Aztec High School, had legally purchased a handgun at a local store a month ago and planned the attack, authorities said. The AP reports he left a message on a thumb drive found on his body that detailed his plan to wait until the students got off buses and made their way to class. He walked into the school with them and went into a second-floor bathroom to "gear up." Atchison's plan was to shoot up a classroom and then kill himself. "Work sucks, school sucks, life sucks. I just want out of this (expletive)," he wrote.

More lives could have been lost had Francisco Fernandez not walked into the bathroom, authorities said. That's when the gunman shot Fernandez. Atchison walked out into the hallway and encountered the second victim, Casey Marquez, and killed her. The gunman then walked up and down the hall, firing randomly, before killing himself, authorities said. Authorities said the shooter did not have a criminal record. The only contact with law enforcement was what they described as a generic message on an online gaming forum in 2016 in which he talked about what weapons might be used in a mass shooting. The FBI said the posting was flagged and investigators talked with the gunman at his home in Aztec, where he lives with his parents. At the time, he did not own any weapons other than an airsoft pellet gun and said he had no plans for an attack.

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