Two people were killed and four injured when a man went on a shooting spree at a public library in the US state of New Mexico.
The gunman surrendered after the shooting Monday and was taken into custody without incident after police entered the Clovis-Carver Public Library, authorities and elected officials with the city of Clovis said during a news conference.
Warrants for his arrest were being prepared, but it’s wasn’t immediately clear what charges he would face. Police are still trying to determine the suspect’s motive.
The injured included two men and two women, authorities said. Some were taken to a hospital across the state line in Lubbock, Texas. Two of the patients were in critical condition, hospital spokesman Eric Finley said.
The names of the victims and the gunman were not released.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford said things could have been much worse had it not been for the quick response, training and courage of police. He called the shooting tragic and senseless.
“This is a big blow to our community,” he said. “Our community is a community that places a high value on life and the sanctity of life. And each life that lives in this community is precious. So we’re all hurting right now as a result of what took place this afternoon.”
Clovis, a city of about 40,000, is about 200 miles east of Albuquerque, near the Texas state line. The area is home to Cannon Air Force Base. The nearby community of Portales is home to Eastern New Mexico University.
A woman who was at the library when the man started his rampage said that the shooter told her to run, the Eastern New Mexico News reported Monday night.
Lisa Baird told the newspaper that she was about 20 feet from the man as he opened fire inside the library.
“Run!,” he yelled at her. “Why aren’t you running? I’m shooting at you! Run!”
She said she was talking with a library patron when she says she heard a “very loud bang.”
“My initial thought was why would someone throw a cherry bomb or M80 firecracker into the library? Then I saw a young man aim his hand, which had a handgun in it, to the ground/carpet about 6 feet in front of him and he fired like four or five shots into the carpet,” she said.
She dove under a nearby desk “and tried to squish up as small as possible,” Baird said.
From there, Baird said she could hear the man moving around the library and firing multiple shots.
“Then I heard his pants ‘shooshing’ as he approached the end of the reference desk. I heard a sound like a phone or something being put on the reference counter at the end of the desk, about 4 feet from my head,” she said.
Then police entered the library and began shouting for the man with the gun to “lay on the ground” repeatedly, Baird said.
Police Chief Doug Ford said the suspect did not resist after police arrived.
Police said they were still working to process the crime scene and piece together what happened. Ford could not immediately say what kind of gun was used in the attack.
Top elected officials from across New Mexico issued their condolences for the victims and their support for the community. Gov. Susana Martinez called it a “horrific attack.”
“In the coming hours and days we will learn more information about this despicable act, but for now I ask all New Mexicans to pray for the victims and their families, and for the entire Clovis community,” said Martinez, a former prosecutor.
Attorney General Hector Balderas said his office has reached out to the local district attorney to offer its help.
Vanessa Aguirre told The Eastern New Mexico News that she was in the library with her son when a man came in and started to shoot into the air.
“It all happened so fast,” she said. “We took off fast.”