Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Nov. 3—Just days into the fall semester, an Albuquerque Public Schools resource officer new to Washington Middle School stopped to introduce herself to eighth-grader Juan Saucedo Jr. as students milled around outside during lunch.
Not long after that, she heard shots and saw children running. Then, the officer said, she saw 13-year-old Saucedo holding a gun, pointing it at fellow student Bennie Hargrove, also 13, as he lay on the ground. Hargrove had been shot in the abdomen, rib, clavicle and shoulder. He was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died.
Those were among details in video and incident reports APS released Tuesday regarding the fatal shooting at the middle school just west of Downtown on Aug. 13.
In a letter to parents, superintendent Scott Elder said the district released them to the media in response to Inspection of Public Records Act requests and cautioned parents to “consider how watching it may impact your child and family.”
“We are all still reeling from the fatal campus shooting of eighth-grader Bennie Hargrove that happened three days into the new school year,” Elder wrote. “As a school community, we continue to honor Bennie’s memory while simultaneously trying to regain some sense of normalcy.”
The Journal is not publishing the videos.
Police have said Hargrove was trying to stop Saucedo from bullying his friends when Saucedo shot him. According to court documents, Saucedo had taken his father’s gun to school and shown it to other students earlier in the day.
Saucedo is charged with murder, conspiracy and unlawful carrying of a weapon on school premises. He is being tried in Children’s Court and remains in the juvenile detention center pending trial.
He is scheduled to undergo a competency evaluation.
According to the reports released Tuesday, the school resource officer was the first to respond and she took Saucedo into custody. Her lapel video shows her handcuffing him to a fence post and then returning to where Hargrove lay on the running track. A school resource officer is a sworn law enforcement agent stationed in a school.
The principal and another woman — a bystander who had leaped over the fence to help — comforted Hargrove, touching his face and arms and trying to get him to regain consciousness.
In her report, the officer wrote that she was new to the school so she had spent lunchtime introducing herself to students.
She said she saw Saucedo — “leaning against the chain-link fence with a straight pale white face” — with a group of students and went to talk to him.
“I spoke to Juan and asked him ‘why are you so grumpy and never smile?’ but Juan just looked at me with a blank stare and did not respond,” the officer wrote. “Another unknown student that was standing near Juan stated ‘That’s just how he is.’ I then asked Juan what his name was to which he responded Juan. At that point, I introduced myself to him and the other students that were near him.”
The officer said she then continued walking around the grass field talking to other students.
“A few minutes later, I heard several loud bangs (approximately 5-7 loud bangs) that mimicked the sound of fireworks coming from the east side of the track,” she wrote. “I turned to the east side of the track and saw several students running at me. I saw a small cloud of smoke coming from the back of the track near the chain-link fence and at that same time, several unknown students ran up to me screaming ‘he has a gun, he has a gun.'”
Security camera footage shows more than 100 students milling around outside, gathering in small groups and playing basketball. There is no sound in the video but a little before 12:40 p.m. several students look to the east. Then they all began to run toward the school building. The officer said in her report that she saw a student holding a black handgun pointing it at another student, later identified as Hargrove, who was lying on the track. The officer said she ran to the scene, turned on her camera and drew her firearm, yelling for Saucedo to drop the gun.
“I observed the suspect dropping the gun somewhere in his general vicinity, then he placed his hands in the air,” she wrote. “While closing distance towards the suspect I gave him the command to ‘get on his knees.’ I observed the suspect comply with my order and he dropped to his knees with his hands in the air.”
The officer said she called for medical and emergency assistance and threw the handgun in order to distance it from Saucedo. “I proceeded to check on the victim (Bennie) who kept saying ‘I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel anything please help me,'” the officer wrote.
The officer brought Saucedo over to the fence where she used a pair of handcuffs to restrain him to the fence until Albuquerque Police Department officers arrived. The school was put on “shelter-in-place” and then students were evacuated and their parents came to pick them up.
Within minutes Albuquerque Fire Rescue personnel and officers descended on the scene. The paramedics took Hargrove away on a stretcher as officers began discussing how to find the students who had witnessed the shooting.
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