CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Two people were killed and four others injured when gunfire erupted inside a public library on Monday, throwing an eastern New Mexico community into a panic as officers swarmed the building with their guns drawn.
Authorities and elected officials in the city of Clovis said the shooter had been taken into custody and was being questioned, but there was no indication of what may have prompted the violence.
Three of the injured victims were taken to a hospital across the state line in Lubbock, Texas, Clovis City Manager Tom Phelps told The Eastern New Mexico News. He did not know the extent of their injuries.
One woman could be seen being helped into an ambulance while the call for air ambulances could be heard over police radio traffic.
City officials had scheduled a briefing for Monday evening to release more details.
“We still don’t know all the details,” City Commissioner Juan Garza told The Associated Press. “What we’ve been telling people is to keep on praying for the families affected by this tragedy.”
Clovis, a city of about 40,000, is about 200 miles east of Albuquerque, near the Texas state line. It is home to Cannon Air Force Base and the nearby community of Portales is home to Eastern New Mexico University.
Attorney General Hector Balderas, the state’s top prosecutor, said his office had reached out to the district attorney to offer any help.
“New Mexico’s thoughts and prayers tonight are with the victims, their families and the first responders on the ground,” Balderas said in a statement.
Sojung Her, a 26-year-old cashier at the Shogun Japanese Steakhouse within view of the library lawn, said the shooting left behind a sense of fear and vulnerability.
“It’s kind of a freak thing,” she said. “What if he just walked into our restaurant and started shooting.”
Police cars and tactical officers crowded the streets outside as she arrived to work at the restaurant late Monday afternoon.
“This kind of thing never happens here,” she said.
Vanessa Aguirre told The Eastern New Mexico News that she was in the library with her son when a man came in and started to shoot into the air.
“It all happened so fast,” she said. “We took off fast.”