Roswell teacher says he acted just on 'instinct' in shooting - Albuquerque Journal

Roswell teacher says he acted just on ‘instinct’ in shooting

Berrendo Middle School teacher John Masterson, left, and security guard Kevin Hayes were applauded for their roles after a shooting last week that wounded two students. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)
Berrendo Middle School teacher John Masterson, left, and security guard Kevin Hayes were applauded for their roles after a shooting last week that wounded two students. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

The Roswell teacher who got a young student to drop his shotgun last week after a shooting in a middle school gym said Tuesday that it was “just 100 percent instinct.”

“It’s like breaking up a fight. You see a fight going on campus, you break it up,” John Masterson told reporters after he was acknowledged by Gov. Susana Martinez in her State of the State speech on the opening day of the legislative session.

The history teacher at Berrendo Middle School is credited with persuading the shooter to drop his weapon, which was used to wound two students during 10 seconds of gunfire. Berrendo seventh-grader Mason Campbell, 12, has been charged in the shooting.

Masterson said in a brief interview that any one of the school staff would have done the same thing.

“Honestly, I was the closest one,” he said.

“The fact that there was a gun scared me; it scared me more than people will ever know,” he also said.

Masterson said he told the shooter to “put it down.”

“The first thing is, I just kind of yelled ‘Hey’ to get his attention,” the teacher said. Once the student turned toward him, he ordered him to put the gun down.

“He just put it down and put his hands up,” Masterson said.

The history teacher, on his first trip to the state Capitol, got a standing ovation from the crowd when he was introduced along with security guard Kevin Hayes. He said the statewide support for the school and its students has been “overwhelming.”

“Our kids need to heal,” he said.

Masterson said he had no particular message in regard to legislation.

“You don’t think it’s ever going to happen to you, or at your school. It happened. The Lord only knows how to stop it, quite frankly,” he said.


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