US teen kills 3 in New Mexico before shot dead by police

No motive was readily apparent as to why the 18-year-old gunman shot three people dead before he was killed by police.

Police tape cordons off the scene of a fatal shooting in Philadelphia, Friday, April 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Four people were killed, including the 18-year-old gunman, in the shooting in New Mexico's Farmington on May 15, 2023 [File: Matt Rourke/AP]

An 18-year-old gunman has killed three people before police shot him dead outside a church in the state of New Mexico.

Several people, including two police officers, were also wounded by the armed teenager who went on a shooting rampage on Monday in a residential area of Farmington, New Mexico, about 290km (180 miles) northwest of Albuquerque, police said.

Farmington Deputy Police Chief Kyle Dowdy later identified the victims as 97-year-old Gwendolyn Schofield, her daughter Melody Ivie and 79-year-old Shirley Voita.

Farmington Deputy Police Chief Baric Crum said in a news briefing that a total of nine people, not counting the suspect, were victims of the shooting. They include the three women who were killed, plus two police officers and four bystanders in cars who were injured.

Officers responding to several calls about a shooting found “a chaotic scene” where a man was firing at people on a residential street, Crum said.

The gunman, identified as 18-year-old Beau Wilson, was believed to have acted alone, police said. No motive was readily apparent.

“We are still trying to determine why he was in this neighbourhood,” Crum told reporters.

Some of the incident was captured in video footage posted to the social media platform TikTok and confirmed as authentic by Farmington police spokesperson Shanice Gonzales. 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 later seen being shot dead by police in front of the building.

The man who apparently was recording the video is heard describing the scene to someone else and referring to the suspect walking in circles beside the church.

The two injured officers, one from the Farmington Police Department and one from New Mexico State Police, were listed in stable condition at San Juan Regional Medical Center, according to police.

Farmington, a commercial hub for oil and gas drilling and a shopping destination for the nearby Navajo Nation and smaller towns in the so-called four-corners area where the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet, has experienced at least two other high-profile incidents of deadly gun violence in recent years.

Police in Farmington last month killed an armed homeowner at his house, then exchanged gunfire with his wife, after officers showed up at the wrong address in response to a domestic violence call. Farmington also was the scene of a deadly high school shooting in December 2017 in which a gunman killed two students before taking his own life.

The shooting on Monday is among the latest in at least 225 mass shootings recorded in the United States this year, according to the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive.

The group defines a mass shooting as any in which four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the attacker.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies