A Sandia High School student is accused of getting into a shootout with another student on Thursday afternoon in the parking lot of a private Christian school, police said Friday.
Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman, said 16-year-old Steven Robles was shot at least three times. She said he will be charged with bringing a firearm onto school premises after his release from the hospital.
Atkins said the other shooter, who attends a different high school, has been identified but police are not releasing any more information until he is in custody.
She said a relative of Robles told police they knew the teen owned a gun and “carried it all the time.” The relative told police they didn’t know where Robles got the gun.
Monica Armenta, an Albuquerque Public Schools spokeswoman, said Robles will face suspension or expulsion and “obviously he’s not going to return to campus.”
Atkins said police responded around 12:30 p.m. to Christ Lutheran School at Candelaria and Pennsylvania NE for reports of gunfire and students running from the area. Witnesses told police a student from another high school said he was coming to Sandia High to fight Robles over an “unknown issue.”
Atkins said detectives found video of Robles walking from Sandia High into the parking lot of Christ Lutheran and shooting at a blue hatchback. She said the video showed Robles limp away, jump over a fence and get picked up by a red car.
Atkins said Robles was dropped off at the University of New Mexico Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. She said Robles told detectives someone pointed a gun at him first and he fired in self-defense.
“He invoked his rights and refused to speak with detectives any further,” Atkins said.
“None of the witnesses saw the second individual actually shooting a firearm and detectives are still actively trying to locate that person for an interview,” she said.
The shooting, which happened less than a month after a fatal shooting at Washington Middle School, led quickly to panic for parents and students as Sandia High was locked down and police surrounded the area.
Officers with large rifles and tactical gear could be seen shepherding young children from Christ Lutheran, which houses preschool to middle school students, off the premises.
Sandia High Principal Camille Gonzales said in an email that parents expressed concern afterward that they weren’t notified “quickly enough.” She said APS followed protocol, locking down the school “the minute” administrators became aware of reported gunfire.
Gonzales said the lockdown was downgraded to a shelter in place within minutes and hours later a robocall and an email was sent to parents.
Gonzales reminded parents that “every one of us plays a role in keeping our schools safe.”
“Please talk to your students about the importance of telling a trusted adult if they know, hear, or see something that could be a security risk,” she said. “If you have firearms in your home, please ensure your student doesn’t have access to them. We understand how frightening it is to face a safety threat. Always remember we are doing everything possible to keep our schools safe.”