Teenage gunman kills 3 in New Mexico before police shoot him dead

·2-min read
The scene in Farmington following the shooting   (AP)
The scene in Farmington following the shooting (AP)

Three people have been killed and six injured after a teenage gunman started firing randomly at bystanders, houses and cars in a US town.

The 18-year-old shooter carried his “random” attack in Farmington, New Mexico, before police shot him dead outside a church, authorities said.

Police responded “to find a chaotic scene where a male subject was actively firing upon individuals in that neighborhood,” Baric Crum, deputy chief of operations for the Farmington Police Department, said in a news briefing hours following yesterday’s attack.

Three civilians were killed and six people were wounded, including two officers struck in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect before he was fatally shot by police, according to Farmington police spokesperson Shanice Gonzales.

She said the suspect had roamed about a quarter of a mile on foot firing on bystanders indiscriminately before the rampage came to an end outside the church where he was confronted by law enforcement.

No motive was apparent, police said.

“At this point it appears to be purely random,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in a video message posted on his department’s Facebook page, calling the incident “devastating”.

Seemingly taking aim at “whatever entered his head to shoot at,” the suspect opened fire from at least three weapons, one of them an AR-15-style rifle, Mr Hebbe said. “At least six houses and three cars were shot in the course of the event.”

The gunman, identified only as an 18-year-old, was believed to have acted alone, police said. No information was provided about any of the dead.

Some of the incident was captured in video footage posted to TikTok.

It shows a man dressed in black pacing around a driveway outside the First Church of Christ Scientist, carrying what appears to be a handgun, before he is seen being shot dead by police in front of the building.

The man apparently recording the video is heard describing the scene to someone else and referring to the suspect walking in circles beside the church. He then says: “There’s a person laying the middle of the street.”

The two wounded officers, one from the Farmington department and one from New Mexico State Police, were in stable condition in hospital. The city officer was later released, Mr Hebbe said.

The conditions of the four wounded civilians were not disclosed.

The gun violence prompted security lockdowns at several public schools in Farmington, a town of about 46,000 residents, until police determined the threat was over.