FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – At least four people are dead, including the suspect, and multiple others are injured after a shooting in northwestern New Mexico Monday, according to the Farmington Police Department.
The shootings occurred at around 11 a.m. in Farmington, a city of about 50,000 people that serves as a modern-day trading post to the adjacent Navajo Nation reservation and is a supply line and bedroom community to the region’s oil and natural gas industry.
Officers received several calls about a shooting and found “a chaotic scene” where a man was firing at people on a residential street, Farmington Police Deputy Chief Baric Crum said during a news conference, which can be seen below.
Police confronted the suspected shooter before fatally shooting him. They found three people dead.
Crum did not identify the suspect and said he didn’t know the ages of any of the victims. Police were trying to determine why he was in the neighborhood.
San Juan Regional Medical Center received seven injured, including a Farmington police officer and a State Police officer. Roberta Rogers, a hospital spokesperson, would not comment on their status.
The two officers were in stable condition, according to Crum. Mayor Nate Duckett said in a statement that both had been shot but their injuries were not life-threatening.
Farmington police have not responded to repeated requests for further details about the injured.
Authorities are still working to determine why the suspect, an 18-year-old man, opened fire in the area. They tell Nexstar’s KRQE that they are investigating a video circulating online to determine its validity or relation to the shooting.
Investigators – including federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – are now looking at a crime scene that spans several blocks, according to Crum. Police are asking for anyone with information to come forward.
“What we now need from our community is anybody that has any additional information, whether that be eyewitness information or video information or whatever it may be, if you feel it’s pertinent,” Crum said.
Joseph Robledo, a 32-year-old tree trimmer, said he rushed home after learning that his wife and 1-year-old daughter had sought shelter in the laundry room when gunshots rang out. A bullet went through his daughter’s window and room, without hitting anyone.
Robledo jumped a fence to get in through the back door. Out front he found an older woman in the street who had been wounded while driving by. She appeared to have fallen out of her car, which kept rolling without her, he said.
“I went out to see because the lady was just lying in the road, and to figure just what the heck was going on,” Robledo said. He and others began to administer first aid.
Neighbors directed an arriving police officer toward the suspect.
“We were telling (the officer), ‘He’s down there.’ … The cop just went straight into action,” Robledo said.
Robledo’s own family car was perforated with bullets.
“We’ve been doing yard work all last week. I just thank God that nobody was outside in front,” he said. “… Obviously, elderly people — he didn’t have no sympathy for them. Who’s to say he would have sympathy for a little kid.”
Middle school teacher Nick Akins, whose home is on a street that police locked down, described the neighborhood as a mostly great place to live, with a mix of homes, short-term rental apartments and churches.
“It’s not like the roughest area in town, but it can be,” he said. “We have great neighbors and rentals, people who come and go. We don’t always know everyone.”
Seeing Farmington in the national spotlight for yet another mass shooting, particularly one that occurred on his street, was surreal for him.
“You never think it’s going to happen here and all of a sudden, in a tiny little town it comes here,” Akins said.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement that she was “receiving frequent updates” on the situation and has “directed the state to provide whatever support the city and county need as they conduct a thorough investigation and as the community begins to heal.”
“I am praying for the families of the victims, the wounded and the entire community of Farmington following this horrific tragedy,” she added. “Although details continue to emerge about this incident, this serves as yet another reminder of how gun violence destroys lives in our state and our country every single day. This administration will not stop fighting the epidemic of gun violence from every angle possible.”
Farmington is not far from where New Mexico borders Colorado, Utah and Arizona. In recent years, cafes and breweries have cropped up downtown alongside decades-old businesses that trade in Native American crafts from silver jewelry to wool weavings. Traveling Broadway shows make regular stops at the expansive community center auditorium, while rural lots on the outskirts are littered with disassembled oilfield equipment.
Last month, Farmington police shot and killed a man at his front door after they went to the wrong address while responding to a domestic violence call.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.