Governor: Staff member stopped Roswell school shooter

Posted at: 01/14/2014 2:33 PM
Updated at: 01/14/2014 7:04 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

John Masterson
John Masterson

ROSWELL, N.M. -- A 12-year-old boy is in state police custody after a shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kasseta said the seventh grader opened fire on a group of students in the gymnasium before school started.

A 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were shot, according to Gov. Susana Martinez. A staff member also suffered minor injuries when he stopped the suspect.

"The shooter was quickly stopped by a staff member who walked right up to him and asked him to set down the firearm, which he did," Gov. Martinez said.

KOB Eywewitness News 4 has identified the staff member as John Masterson. Masterson is a social studies teacher at the school.

A state police lieutenant who was dropping his child off at the time of the incident also helped detain the shooting suspect. The principal was locking the door when she saw the lieutenant and asked for help, according to Gov. Martinez. 

Officers responded to the scene around 8:11 a.m. and the boy was taken into custody. State police did not release his name and said they are currently speaking with his parents.

The 12-year-old boy is in critical condition at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. The 13-year-old girl is listed in serious condition at the same hospital.

"I'm asking that all New Mexicans please put these children in your prayers," Gov. Martinez said. "We have a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old who were shot by simply sitting in their gym waiting to go to class, and one of them is in surgery."

A prayer vigil will be held at Roswell Convention Center at 6 p.m. tonight.

"Please don't forget that this community is a strong community, they will pull together. There is no doubt that everyone, even if they weren't in the school, are going to pull together to support those that were," Gov. Martinez said. 

A press conference is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Roswell Civic Center.