ROSWELL, N.M. - The parents of a 12-year-old New Mexico boy accused of shooting two classmates said Wednesday they still loved their son and hoped he got "all of the help that he needs."
Tuesday's attack on students in the gymnasium of Berrendo Middle School here appeared to be planned, officials said.
Chaves County prosecutors charged the boy as a juvenile late Wednesday with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, all felonies. Some media have identified the boy, but the Los Angeles Times does not identify juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.
The boy's parents vowed to cooperate with the investigation.
"We are horribly sad over this tragedy on so many levels," the family said in a statement. "We are praying that God will be with everyone who has been affected. For all of the anguish that many suffered yesterday, our family offers our heartfelt condolences and remorse in words that we cannot fully express."
A judge has ordered a psychological evaluation of the boy, who allegedly fired three times with a shotgun, apparently at random, before teacher John Masterson persuaded him to put down the weapon.
A girl and a boy were hit from 12 to 15 feet away, officials said. They were hospitalized at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Kendal Sanders, 13, was shot in the shoulder and was in stable condition, Gov. Susana Martinez said at a Wednesday news briefing. The boy remains in critical condition with wounds to the side of his face and neck, the governor said, asking that "all New Mexicans continue to pray for this young man and Kendal."
The accused student's parents echoed that sentiment.
"Our constant thoughts and our fervent prayers have been and are for the young man who was hurt and for the young woman who was hurt ... and we are praying for them to recover and for the medical personnel who are attending to them," the family said.
Their statement did not address the student's use of the 20-gauge shotgun, which officials said was taken from the family's home. Nor did the statement address whether the family had seen any warning signs.
"As a family we will cooperate in all ways with law enforcement to piece together how this awful tragedy occurred," the family said. "We have confidence in our capable southern New Mexico law enforcement, the district attorney, and our judges. We pray also for each of them as they undertake their hard work and investigative efforts."
Investigators have searched the suspect’s school locker, his home and the duffel bag he allegedly used to bring the shotgun into the building. Police are still seeking a motive for the attack.
Officials prepared to reopen the school Thursday. Counselors were available Wednesday and will continue to be on hand when the children return.
Glionna reported from Roswell and Pearce from Los Angeles. Michael Muskal contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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