A suspect is in custody in connection with the shooting deaths of two people at the Clovis-Carver Library on Monday, according to Clovis Police Chief Douglas Ford.
Ford said in a news conference Monday evening that two females were killed while four others, two males and two females, were injured and transferred to outside hospitals for advanced care. He did not give their ages or names. He did not release the identities of the dead and said he would not do so until their families are notified.
Ford confirmed that a person photographed being taken away in handcuffs from the library is the primary suspect but would not release his identity.
“This is a very young stage of this investigation,” he said. Ford couldn’t confirm how many people were in the library at the time of the shooting.
Clovis interim City Manager Tom Phelps said in an earlier telephone interview that police were called to the library around 4 p.m. and the situation ended “fairly soon” after officers arrived. Force was not used against the suspect, he said.
“He surrendered peacefully,” Phelps said.
Three of the injured victims were taken to a hospital across the state line in Lubbock, Texas, Phelps told The Eastern New Mexico News.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford at the news conference condemned the “very tragic and senseless act” that took two lives and injured others, some severely.
“This is the last thing I wanted to do today, no doubt about that,” Lansford said. “We’re all hurting as a result of what took place this afternoon.”
Lansford thanked Clovis police for a “quick and immediate response” that stopped a situation that “could’ve been much worse.”
“We’ve been hit hard, but we’re a community that will get back up,” he said.
“While there is still much unknown, it is clear this was a horrific attack,” Gov. Susana Martinez said in a news release. “I am directing the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, and other state agencies, to assist and support the Clovis Police Department. In the coming hours and days we will learn more information about this despicable act, but for now I ask all New Mexicans to pray for the victims and their families, and for the entire Clovis community.”
Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a news release that his office had reached out to the local 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,” he said.
The Associated Press reported that Sojung Her, a 26-year-old cashier at the Shogun Japanese Steak House within view of the library, located on North Main Street, 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.
A statement on the Clovis library’s web page read: “Due to an incident at the library, we will be closed until further notice.”