Roswell native knew teacher who worked at school

By Emily Crowe and Christina Calloway

CMI STAFF WRITERS

Portales MainStreet Director Debralynn Soza said she immediately thought of her family and friends when she heard of Tuesday’s shooting at a Roswell middle school.

The early morning shooting at Berrendo Middle School wounded two students. A 12-year-old classmate is in custody, accused of pulling a shotgun from a band-instrument case and shooting his classmates in the school’s gym, officials and witnesses said.

The shooting occurred before school.

CMI staff photo: Lisa Kent Berrendo Middle School student Gabby Vasquez told reporters the boy who was shot "got along with everybody."

CMI staff photo: Lisa Kent
Berrendo Middle School student Gabby Vasquez told reporters the boy who was shot “got along with everybody.”

Soza, a native of Roswell, said she was especially concerned for her friend and fellow Eastern New Mexico University alumna, who is a teacher at the middle school.

“My friends and I have been texting back and forth all day,” Soza said. “It’s just a big deal.”

Clovis middle schools compete against Berrendo in athletics, according to Superintendent Terry Myers.

“Obviously it’s a very scary thought that this could happen in our schools,” Myers said. “My heart and prayers go out to the community of Roswell and to the Roswell schools.”

“It’s a very, very difficult time,” he said.

Berrendo is one of three middle schools in Roswell.

Myers said Clovis schools often work on preparedness and safety protocol for such a situation, and practice lock-down and emergency evacuation drills.

“Every time we get together as administrators, one of the things we talk about is safety in our schools,” he said.

Soza said she was caught off guard when she checked her phone after leaving a MainStreet meeting Tuesday morning. Several people had messaged her to see if her family was OK.

When she finally caught wind of what was happening her immediate fear was that the victims may be people she knows.

Soza said the 11-year-old male victim is the little brother of her friend’s boyfriend.

“That in itself made me cry,” Soza said, though she doesn’t know the victim personally.

Soza said she was heading to Roswell on Tuesday night to attend one of the vigils for the victims.

“It’s sad that someone would do that,” Soza said. “You put hundreds of kids in danger and their families. It’s just crazy. It’s my hometown; I love it, but it’s just so sad.”

The Clovis boys junior varsity and varsity basketball games Tuesday night at Roswell Goddard was still played, with the Wildcats defeating the Rockets 69-66.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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