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New Mexico shooter used three weapons, including AR-15, and left a note


May 17, 2023

He teen gunslinger who fatally shot three elderly women used three weapons, including an AR-15, before officers stopped him in front of a church, New Mexico authorities said Wednesday.

Beau Wilson, 18, opened fire from his own home before leaving and continued to fire indiscriminately beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, hitting seven homes and 11 cars, San Juan County Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Burns said.

Investigators collected at least 176 rounds, 141 of which were fired from Wilson’s home, Burns said.

He had fired 18 shots at officers in front of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at 713 N. Dustin Ave., when police killed him, Burns said.

In addition to the three weapons Wilson used, there were 10 other firearms at his home, police said. There were more than 1,400 shots between the ones he fired and the ammunition in the house, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said.

«The suspect had access to a lot, a lot of ammunition,» Hebbe told reporters.

Investigators work along a residential street Monday after a deadly shooting in Farmington, NM Susan Montoya Bryan / AP

After he used the AR-15 to shoot from his home, Wilson dumped it in some nearby bushes, Hebbe said. The high-capacity weapon had one round in the chamber and a magazine with a few rounds remaining, he said.

The AR-15 was purchased in November, shortly after Wilson’s 18th birthday in October, and then purchased three magazines just two days before the attack, authorities said.

«I’m not sure why he made the decision to scrap it at the time, but he did,» Hebbe said, referring to the AR-15.

Wilson also fired and discarded a .22 caliber pistol with at least one bullet before meeting police in front of the church with a 9mm handgun, Hebbe said.

The shooter was wearing a bulletproof vest during part of the exchange but later ditched it as well, Hebbe said. «By the time we confronted him at the final battle site, he took it from him for some reason.»

“We found that the 9mm pistol is with him. We believe that’s what he was wearing in the final exchange of fire with our officers. That gun emptied when the battle was over,” he said.

Authorities also disclosed Wednesday that investigators found a note on wilson’s body that seemed to show that he knew his actions would end in death.

Monday’s carnage unfolded a little over 24 hours before his classmates walked across the stage in Farmington H.IG H Sschoolgraduation.

In a lengthy statement Wednesday, Wilson’s family acknowledged the grief of the entire community.

«We would like to begin by sending our condolences to all the victims and their loved ones,» the family said. “We know that the community and the families involved are dealing with a lot of pain.”

Investigators have been unable to uncover any obvious motive for Wilson’s action, but said loved ones were concerned about his mental health.

«My brother was fighting a battle with mental illness that he lost. He was set to graduate on Tuesday,» the family said.

Wilson’s loved ones insisted they knew him as a caring person and not the armed killer he turned out to be on Monday.

«This is all very shocking to us, as we only knew him as a kind-hearted young man who loved his family and friends very much. We understand that many people are experiencing a lot of emotions,» the family’s statement continued. “We are also mourning the loss of our brother, son, grandson, uncle, and friend. Once again, we just want to send our condolences and deepest condolences to everyone involved. We will continue to pray and seek answers.»

Wilson’s shots struck and killed Shirley Voita, 79, Melody Ivie, 73, and Gwendolyn Schofield, 97, who were in cars. Schofield was Ivie’s mother.

valeriya antonshchuk contributed.