AZTEC, N.M. — Heaven Angelica Hughes and her classmates heard loud noises advancing from the alley aloof afore bullets began aerial through the window, arresting a bank aloof over one student’s head.
“Get down!” her abecedary yelled. The 15-year-old apprentice fell the attic and hid beneath her desk. Heaven again beatific a argument message: “There’s a cutting actuality at school, mom.”
Across the hallway, David Stone, 16, heard the aforementioned booms while in algebraic class. His abecedary herded the chic into a closet and bound the door.
“This is not a drill,” an anchorperson over the academy intercom told students.
When the abashed acceptance emerged Thursday from their ambuscade places at Aztec Aerial School, they abstruse two of their classmates had been killed. The ballista additionally was asleep and the close association of 6,500 bodies was advance into aching as they became the latest to feel the bite of what seems to be a accepted tragedy in the United States.
Why the ballista chose Casey J. Marquez and Francisco I. Fernandez remained a abstruseness as detectives combed through evidence. So far, they accept appear few details.
“I aloof anticipation it was a dream,” said Sebastian McNeal, 18, who was cat-and-mouse to lath a bus for a basketball tournament. “I anticipation I was activity to deathwatch up and it’s activity to be all fine.”
Then he saw an ambulance. “I knew it was real,” he said.
Police accustomed at the academy beneath than a minute afterwards accepting the antecedent calls, which came anon afterwards the alpha of aboriginal period. With the academy in lockdown, they got central through a window and a door.
It was not bright if the ballista died by suicide or was asleep by police. No added injuries were reported.
Hours afterwards the gunshots, acceptance and the association aggregate in churches, association centers and again a park, braving frigid temperatures for a candlelight vigil.
Saying the eyes of the nation were on Aztec, association associates at the acuity were bent to appearance their accord and strength, letters CBS Albuquerque associate KRQE-TV.
“For the ones who accept absent their children, they charge to see us. They charge to see we care,” said Jenni Van Herwaaden.
Into the night, hundreds showed they affliction at the acuity in Aztec’s Minimum Park.
The grandparents victims Casey Jordan-Marquez spoke, KRQE notes.
“She’d adulation to see everybody actuality … to appear see her. She admired everybody. If anybody was down, she was consistently there to try to accompany them up,” said Casey’s grandfather.
Some were cutting shirts anniversary the added victim, Paco Hernandez.
Community associates are alms counseling through bounded churches in the advancing days. Many are cutting stickers reading, “I Can Help,” KRQE says.
At St Joseph’s Catholic Church, association came calm to say a chaplet in account of the victims.
“Right now we charge to accumulate anniversary added in our hearts and thoughts and booty affliction of anniversary other,” Aztec Mayor Sally Burbridge acquaint on her Facebook page.
Some association coiled American flags on active streets.
“This is a bound community,” Marsha Dodd, 51, said while captivation a banderole in advanced of Aztec’s Safeway grocery store. “I don’t appetite this in my community, aloof accord and love.”
She stood abutting to Dennis Martinez, 24, who captivated a assurance ambitious that agents be accustomed to backpack guns.
At the acuity abreast the town’s capital street, pastors from altered churches apprenticed acceptance and their parents to adjure and allege up if they acquainted pain. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez batten briefly and told the army “all of New Mexico is with you.”
David Stone and Heaven Angelica Hughes aggregate with accompany and aloft their candles aback a apostle apprenticed them not to accord in to fear. They approved to accumulate anniversary other’s candles burning. Aback it was all done, David accepted he may not acknowledgment to Aztec High. “I don’t know. Maybe I go to home academy or something,” he said. He kept replaying the moment aback he and others were bound in the closet, not alive if they were targets.
Aztec is in the affection of northwestern New Mexico’s oil and gas country and abreast the Navajo Nation. Its capital artery is lined by old brick barrio that date aback added than a century. Officials say it’s a boondocks area anybody knows anybody abroad and area accession anniversary are abundant to shut bottomward the capital street.
Officials say schools beyond boondocks that shut bottomward Thursday will break bankrupt Friday.
Sebastian said he didn’t apperceive aback he could get his apperception aback to basketball this season.
“But Aztec will be back,” he said. “We’ll be stronger.”
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This actual may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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