CLOVIS, N.M. – A mass shooting at a public library left two people dead and at least four others were rushed to a hospital in New Mexico Monday afternoon, investigators said.
Clovis Fire Chief Michael Nolen told Fox News that the male suspect was captured fairly quickly. As a result, he is now in state police custody.
City of Clovis Commissioner Juan F. Garza said the investigation was ongoing. Moreover, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced it was responding and supporting local police.
BREAKING: ATF is responding to support the Clovis, NM Police Department following a shooting at the Clovis-Carver City Library today.
— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) August 29, 2017
At the present time, Garza said there’s no indication of a motive for the shooting. He called it a tragedy. Furthermore, he and other city officials are asking people to pray for the families that have been affected. He said the city would offer whatever support it can as the community looks to recover.
Capt. Roman Romero was contacted but did not provide additional details. Therefore, information regarding the victims are unknown. But The Eastern New Mexico News identified the suspect as a teenager, Nathaniel Jouett.
According to The Eastern New Mexico News, police surrounded the library a few minutes after 4 p.m. Police scanner traffic reported air ambulances were dispatched and at least one victim has been taken to Clovis Municipal Airport for transport to Lubbock. One scanner report said a victim was in a closet at the library and seeking medical attention.
Vanessa Aguirre told the news agency she was in the Clovis-Carver Public 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. My purse is still in there.”
Aguirre believed the homicidal shooter used a handgun.
Kim Tipton, who was in the American Classified building across the street from the library, said she saw multiple police arrive a few minutes after 4 p.m. “Their guns were drawn, AK-whatever they were, they were drawn,” she said.
Jouett is accused in the deadly shooting at the public library. According to the Eastern New Mexico News, he had been in trouble at school, had recently contemplated suicide and had “anxiety attacks” that resulted in his going home from church on Sunday morning, his pastors said.
Pastors at Clovis’ Living Word Church of God said the shooting stunned them because they thought the teenage boy was making positive strides in recent weeks, following what both described as a “very hard life.”
“He started coming to church about 3 1/2 months ago,” said Pastor David Stevens.
“My daughter called him and asked if he wanted to hang out.”
Stevens said his daughter soon learned Jouett was “laying with a gun at his side and a suicide note in his pocket” as they talked on the phone.
Once Jouett began attending church, he was a regular, often participating in multiple worship services in a week.
“I know that he had been turning his life around,” said Living Word’s Associate Pastor Bonetta Hutson.
“I know last week … he was jumped in a bathroom. And then he got into a fight on Friday and was suspended for two days,” Hutson said.
Stevens said Jouett was upset about the fight.
“He said he tried to avoid it. He knew that’s not what he was supposed to be doing,” Stevens said.
Clovis schools Superintendent Jody Balch said he did not know if Jouett had been fighting or if he was suspended.
Stevens said Jouett was at church on Sunday morning, but began having “anxiety attacks” during services and had to go home. He returned for Sunday night services and then spent about an hour at Stevens’ home with other teens.
“He said his chest had been hurting him all day,” Stevens said.
Stevens said Jouett lived with his father and was estranged from his mother.
He declined to go into detail about the boy’s past, but said he’d recently given a testimony about his Christian faith at church.
“So I have been baptized and gotten back in 2 church,” Jouett wrote on his Facebook page on Aug. 14.
“I have this overwhelming joy. (T)hank you 2 the church for making it feel like home.”
The exact age of the teenage suspect was not provided.
Clovis has a population of approximately 40,000. It is the county seat of Curry County and located about 200 miles east of Albuquerque, near the Texas state line. It’s home to Cannon Air Force Base and the nearby community of Portales is home to Eastern New Mexico University.