'I just prayed' - Students hid in classrooms as classmate kills two in US school shooting

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Associated Press

Students hid in their classrooms, some behind locked doors or in closets, as a gunman opened fire today inside a New Mexico high school in the US, killing two classmates before he ended up dead.

Aztec High School, New Mexico.

Aztec High School, New Mexico.

Source: Associated Press

Authorities and other officials in the small town of Aztec near the Colorado border have released few details other than to say the shooter and two victims attended Aztec High School.

No other injuries were reported, and it was not clear if the shooter died by suicide or was killed by police.

Bryn Divine, a senior, said she was sitting at her desk in her history class when she heard gunshots erupt down the hall. At first, it sounded as if someone was swinging a metal baseball bat against the lockers.

Then she heard an announcer over the school intercom tell students: "This is not a drill."

"I stayed in my desk, and I just prayed, 'Please just let this be over as soon as possible.' That was my first reaction," she said.

Sophomore Garrett Parker told Albuquerque television station KOAT that he also heard what he thought was banging on the lockers. Then it got louder and closer.

"Thankfully our teacher always locks the door no matter what. So he kept that locked," Mr Parker said. "When they called over the intercom that it was not a drill, we went to the corner of the room out of sight from the door and just started hiding."

People gather for a vigil at St. Joseph Church in Aztec, N.M.

People gather for a vigil at St. Joseph Church in Aztec, N.M.

Source: Associated Press

Governor Susana Martinez called the shooting a heinous and horrific act and told reporters that teachers, school staff and law enforcement jumped in quickly to prevent more deaths. She didn't provide more details.

Police responded to the school less than a minute after getting the initial calls, which came shortly after the start of the first period. With the school in lockdown, they got inside through a window and a door.

Authorities checked each room and each building at the school before the students were bussed to another location where they were reunited with their parents.

The high school remained cordoned off as the community prepared for a prayer vigil. Aztec is a rural town of 6,500 people in the heart of northwestern New Mexico's oil and gas country and near the Navajo Nation. 

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