Aztec, N.M. – The New Mexico State Police have identified the gunman in a shooting at Aztec High School, and the hero teacher who saved 17 students from the gunman.
William Atchison, 21, was a former student at the school where he shot and killed two students and then committed suicide on Dec. 7, according to the Chicago Tribune.
San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christiansen said the shooter planned the attack and blended in with students to get into the school when buses were arriving. Atchison then walked to the second-floor to prepare for his attack.
Atchison left a note on his thumb drive found on his body.
“Work sucks, school sucks, life sucks. I just want out of this s**t,” he wrote, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The first victim was Francisco Fernandez, who left class to go to the same bathroom that Atchison was in. Police said Atchison ambushed Fernandez and killed him instantly. Atchison then walked out of the restroom and shot the second victim, Casey Jordan-Marquez, in the hallway.
Atchison walked into a computer lab, but the students had already taken cover in a closet.
The Chicago Tribune reported substitute teacher Katie Potter heard the gunshots but didn’t have a key to lock the door to the computer lab. So she took students into a storage area and barricaded the door with a couch.
Atchison still opened fire and shot through the wall but none of the students were hit. Police believe that her actions saved the 17 students within the classroom.
Atchison shot himself just as the officers were entering the school, the newspaper reported.
Investigators said Atchison only had one gun and he purchased it legally.
The FBI said they investigated Atchison in 2016 after he posted a comment on an online gaming forum in which he talked about what weapons might be used in a mass shooting. That post was flagged and the FBI talked to Atchison at his home in Aztec where he lived with his parents. At that time, Atchison did not have any gun but did own an airsoft pellet gun.
The note left by Atchison said:
December 7, 2017
If things go according to plan, today would be when I die.
I wait until the school buses are detected, then head out on foot disguised as a student.
I go somewhere and gear up, then hold a class hostage and go apes**t, then blow my brains out.
Work suck, school sucks, life sucks.
I just want out of this s**t.
F**k this state, it really is bad. Think I’m insane? I’m actually more rational, peaceful and less loony than a majority of the citizenry of this entire region.