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Two killed, four hospitalized in Clovis library shooting; suspect in custody

J.R. Oppenheim
August 29, 2017 12:51 PM

CLOVIS, N.M. -- Two people died and four others were injured in a shooting at a public library in southeast New Mexico Monday afternoon, according to Clovis city officials.

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Clovis Interim City Manager Tom Phelps and Clovis Police Chief Douglas Ford confirmed the two deaths at the Clovis-Carver Public Library. During a Monday evening press conference at City Hall, Ford said two females were killed while two other females and two males sustained undisclosed injuries.

Tuesday morning, officials updated the condition of the surviving victims and said one victim remains in critical condition, two are listed as in serious condition, and one is listed as in satisfactory condition. 

So far no identities or ages have been revealed.

"This is a big blow to our community," Clovis Mayor David Lansford said. "Our community places a high value on life and the sanctity of life, and each life that lives in this community is precious."

Clovis police officers received the call of an active shooter situation at the library around 4:13 p.m. Ford said officers entered the library and made contact with the suspect, taking him into custody. First responders made sure no other shooters were on the premises, and then they tended to the victims.

The suspect surrendered to police, Ford said.

There were no shots fired at police officers, Ford said. The library remains closed, and police are seeking warrants as the investigation continues. There is no indication at this point what prompted the shooting.

The City of Clovis live-streamed Monday's news conference on its Facebook page. For mobile users, click here

"We are a strong community," Lansford said. "We are a faith-based community, and I know the faith community will rise up and wrap their arms around those who are hurting."

A witness, Matt Southard, told KOB's Tessa Mentus and Steve Soliz he was next to the library on business. When he went outside, he saw first responders on scene. The officers had the guns drawn and everyone looked toward the library, he said.

At that point, Southard started filming as the suspect was put into a police car. The suspect wore a black T-shirt and sunglasses.

"As they were walking him out he had a very smart look on his face and was flipping his hair back," Southard said.

Southard said he saw a young woman being transported in an ambulance, but he did not see any other victims.

Another witness, Joseph Tapia, also shot video. He said the person in custody looked like a younger kid, possibly a sophomore in high school. The male in handcuffs "didn't look like he had any remorse while he was getting walked out," Tapia said.

"It’s real sad," Tapia said. "It just feels like one of those, 'Did this really just happen in Clovis?' It’s just kind of like ... who, why? It’s a small community. You never think this would happen here. Being out there, just seeing all the cops everywhere, ambulances, fire trucks and everything -- it was like this is stuff we see in movies. We don’t see this in Clovis."

"I grew up born and raised in Clovis. And to see something like that in the town I grew up in, it was really shocking and devastating," Southard added. "To see the man that supposedly had done all this was really just a blow to your heart, to know that something like that can happen so close to home."

Several statewide elected officials reacted to Monday's shooting:

 "While there is still much unknown, it is clear this was a horrific attack. I am directing the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, and other state agencies, to assist and support the Clovis Police Department. In the coming hours and days we will learn more information about this despicable act, but for now I ask all New Mexicans to pray for the victims and their families, and for the entire Clovis community."
-- Gov. Susana Martinez

"New Mexico’s thoughts and prayers tonight are with the victims, their families, and the first responders on the ground. The Office of the Attorney General has offered our assistance to local law enforcement in Clovis and our victim service specialists are currently assisting the Office of the District Attorney."
-- Attorney General Hector Balderas

"I am deeply saddened to hear about the shooting that occurred at a public library in Clovis earlier today. There is no place for acts of senseless violence like this in our communities. My staff and I will be keeping the victims, their families, and the brave men and women who responded to the situation in our thoughts and prayers tonight."
-- Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of the tragic shooting at the Clovis-Carver Public Library in Clovis tonight. While the details are still coming in, we grieve for the innocent victims shot in a senseless act of violence; lives disrupted and futures cut short; and a community reeling. We must come together to heal, but this trend must not continue.
-- U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., whose congressional district includes Curry County

Stay with KOB.com as this story develops.

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J.R. Oppenheim

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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