New Mexico Town Mourns the Loss of Cheerleader, Football Player Killed in High School Shooting


December 8, 2017

Hundreds gathered at a candlelight vigil on Thursday night after two teenagers were killed in a high school shooting in a remote part of New Mexico.



Cheerleading captain Casey Marquez and football player Francisco Fernandez were killed when a gunman opened fire at Aztec High School shortly after classes started on Thursday, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office.

The shooter, whose identity has not been released, also died. A motive remains unclear, and police have not released details surrounding the gunman's death.

Hours after the shooting, Marquez’s grandparents wept as they gave a heartbreaking speech at Minium Park and thanked the crowds for paying tribute despite the frigid temperatures.


Football player Francisco Fernandez and cheerleading captain Casey Marquez were killed when a gunman opened fire at Aztec High School Thursday. FaceBook


“I wish I could hold you and tell you I love you one more time. Not a day will go by that I don’t think of you and remember your beautiful bright smile. We will miss you so much sweet baby sister,” Keana Marquez wrote on Facebook.

Her friend Jesse Smith wrote, “My heart hurts so bad right now. Casey Jordan was one of my closest friends, how could such awful things always happen to the greatest people. We all love you and will miss you so much girl!”

Fernandez, a junior who had recently transferred to the high school, dreamed of going to college, KOB4 reported.


HEARTBREAKING: Casey Jordan’s grandparents tearfully thank the community for coming out to mourn her. FaceBook


His father, still trying to make sense of the tragedy, said there were Christmas presents still waiting for his son at home.

Dia Reed wrote, “Today I lost someone who truly had a piece of my heart. Your laugh made everyone laugh…. love you so much and miss you!”

Iko Coghill remembered Fernandez, writing, “I knew Paco in the 7th grade. That man stood up for me anytime a bully got near me. No one deserved this, and he especially didn't.”

Students at Aztec High recounted their initial confusion and fear when the school was placed on lockdown.

Sophomore Garrett Parker told KOAT that he was 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, who says he’s thankful his teacher always locks the classroom door, moved to a corner of the room and hid.

The school was evacuated as parents gathered outside the Aztec Police Department, anxiously awaiting news of their loved ones. No one other than the three victims were injured.

Here is more information on Active Shooter Defense.



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