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New Mexico School Shooting Victims Identified

Image: New Mexico School Shooting Victims Identified

Aztec High School students and area residents gather for a candlelight vigil in Aztec, N.M., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, after a shooting at the high school. (Russell Contreras/AP)

Friday, 08 Dec 2017 08:54 AM

A New Mexico school shooting Thursday left two students and the gunman dead, and authorities have identified the two victims.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office said in a post on social media the victims were Casey J. Marquez and Francisco I. Fernandez.

Friends were sharing their condolences on Marquez's Facebook page, which displayed photos of the teen in her cheerleading outfit. Fernandez's friends shared photos on his page and wore T-shirts that memorialized him during a candlelight vigil late Thursday.

Hundreds of friends and family members braved frigid temperatures to gather at a park in the community of Aztec to honor the two students.

Authorities have yet to identify the gunman and have not released any details about what prompted the shooting. They planned another news conference Friday morning.

Police got initial reports of gunfire at a New Mexico school shortly after first period began.

Authorities say Aztec High School was locked down and officers responded in less than a minute Thursday.

Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal said officers were able to get into the school through a window and a door and that immediate actions by law enforcement and others helped keep more students safe.

Heal and other authorities were tightlipped at a news conference Thursday, releasing few details other than confirming that the gunman and two victims were dead. No one else was injured.

Officials previously said all three were students.

Heal vowed to get to the bottom of what prompted the shooting, but authorities said they have a lot of evidence to process and interviews to do.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says several acts of bravery helped save lives during the deadly shooting.

Martinez told reporters that teachers, school staff and law enforcement jumped in quickly to prevent more deaths. She did not provide any details.

The governor described the day as difficult and called the shooting a heinous and horrific act. She called for New Mexicans to unite and support the small community of Aztec.

A student says he huddled in a locked classroom as the shooter opened fire.

Aztec High School sophomore Garrett Parker tells Albuquerque television station KOAT that he was upstairs in history class when he heard what he initially thought was students banging on lockers Thursday.

As the noise got louder and closer, school officials warned over the intercom system that it wasn't a drill.

Parker says he's thankful his teacher always locks the classroom door. He and other students moved to a corner of the room out of sight of the door and hid.

Deputies with the sheriff's office and surrounding police departments responded to the school after reports of the shooting. Federal agents and state police are investigating.

The school is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation.

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A New Mexico school shooting Thursday left two students and the gunman dead, and authorities have identified the two victims.
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Friday, 08 Dec 2017 08:54 AM
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