Video shows motorists come under fire and how police took down the shooter
Police in Farmington, New Mexico, on Thursday released chilling video of the fatal shooting spree in which an 18-year-old gunman shot nine people, including people driving on the street in front of his home.
Police Chief Steve Hebbe described a chaotic scene in the neighborhood, depicted in two doorbell camera videos and two cameras worn by responding police officers.
Three people were killed and six others wounded in the mass shooting on Monday. The chief said residents helped officers follow the trail of the gunman as he walked down the road in his neighborhood.
One video clip from a doorbell camera shows the vehicle of the first victim, Shirley Voita, rolling down the street slowly with the driver’s door open. Hebbe told reporters at a news conference Thursday the video was taken after Voita had been shot and fallen out of the vehicle. She died at a hospital.
Later, the minivan occupied by the second and third victims, Gwendolyn Schofield and Melody Ivie, is seen coming to a stop in a second clip from the same camera. Hebbe said police believe the women were preparing to assist Voita when the gunman opened fire on them. Schofield, 98, and Ivie, her 73-year-old daughter, were killed in their vehicle.
Loud gunfire is heard in the video, which shows puffs of debris coming from the driver’s side window. The gunfire continues as three vehicles stop soon after Schofield and Ivie are killed. One eventually turns the corner and two others use reverse to quickly get away from the shots.
The victims are not seen in the videos released Thursday. Farmington police also did not immediately release video the chief said Wednesday shows the shooter walking through the neighborhood.
At one point, a voice off-camera apparently says, “Come kill me!” Hebbe said, “It’s my belief that ultimately in his head (the gunman) has made a decision that he’s going to stand and fight it out until he’s killed.”
Authorities have said Beau Adam Wilson, a high school student, used his recently purchased AR-15 rifle to unleash a torrent of bullets from his yard before continuing his march though a northwestern New Mexico neighborhood, leaving another community wondering whether such tragedy could have been prevented and why the gunman chose to fire on helpless civilians.
Police said the shooter purchased his assault weapon in November, about a month after his 18th birthday. He started the rampage by firing his rifle indiscriminately from his yard, Hebbe said Wednesday.
Wilson then dropped his AR-15 rifle and continued his violent tear, walking through the neighborhood and shooting houses and cars at random with two pistols, police said.
Farmington is far from alone as a city now grappling with the horror of a mass shooting. In just the first five months of this year, US communities have suffered at least 227 mass shootings, with at least four victims shot in each incident.
The gunman, wearing a bulletproof vest, fired at least 141 rounds from his yard with the rifle Monday morning before ditching it in some bushes and leaving the property with two handguns, officials said.
The body cam videos released Thursday show Farmington police Sgt. Rachel Discenza run with officers toward the shooter. As she comes out from the cover of some bushes, gunfire erupts and the sergeant can be heard saying, “I’m shot.”
Another officer can be seen quickly approaching Discenza after she falls to the ground a second time, asking where she was shot and for her tourniquet. He calls for a medic as he offers aid.s
Another officer then approaches the sergeant asking where she was hit and the video ends. Discenza is recovering at home after being wounded in the pelvic region, Hebbe said.
A male officer with a rifle is shown in another video looking for the gunman and directing other officers to the shooter’s position. The officer can be heard yelling at residents to get inside and asking for more units.
The officer yells “let me see your hands” and gunfire erupts. The officer is then heard yelling “subject is down” and officers run to the felled gunman and handcuff him.
The six people wounded include Discenza and New Mexico State Police officer Andreas Stamatiadis, who was shot while driving to the scene.
Both officers have been released from the hospital, along with the four other wounded victims, Farmington Deputy Chief Baric Crum said.
In total, the assailant fired at 11 vehicles and seven houses, though none of the people shot was in a residence.
“The amount of violence and brutality that these innocent people faced is something that is unconscionable to me,” Deputy Chief Kyle Dowdy said.
“I don’t care what age you are. I don’t care what else is going on in your life. To kill three innocent elderly women that were just absolutely in no position to defend themselves is always going to be a tragedy.”
In addition to the AR-15 rifle Wilson bought a month after his 18th birthday, authorities believe two of the guns used in the rampage were legally owned by a family member. Investigators are trying to determine how the killer got them.
The gunman also bought three magazines for the rifle just two days before the rampage, the police chief said.
Aside from the three weapons used in the attack, 10 more guns and 1,400 rounds of ammunition were found in the house where the shooter lived, the chief said.
After the gunman was killed, authorities found a short, handwritten note in his pocket and were trying to “piece together” the note’s meaning, Hebbe said.
Wilson had only “minor infractions” with law enforcement before the violent attack, Dowdy said.
Some relatives interviewed by law enforcement expressed concerns about Wilson’s mental health, the deputy chief said, but it’s not clear whether he had been diagnosed with any issues.
“We’ll end up finding in the next couple of days what medication if any he was under, if he was under a doctor’s care in some form or fashion,” Hebbe said Wednesday.
The attack left Farmington “shaken to the core by an unthinkable incident that robbed families of their loved ones,” Mayor Nate Duckett said.
It came just one day before graduation at Farmington High School, where the gunman was a student.
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