Videos, 911 calls capture frantic response to deadly New Mexico rampage
May 26, 2023, 2:14 PM | Updated: 4:14 pm
(AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of frantic calls poured in to dispatchers about a barrage of gunfire and bloodied victims along a busy street during this month’s deadly shooting in Farmington, prompting authorities to rush to the chaotic scene not knowing what was in store.
Breathless with guns drawn, officers rushed toward the gunman. More shots popped off, and an officer yelled, “Subject down! Cease fire, cease fire!” Another officer who had been shot in the leg was put in a patrol car and taken to a nearby hospital.
The minutes that followed were a scramble as authorities searched the neighborhood for a possible second shooter, while other officers huddled to figure out how far the crime scene stretched and which vehicles had been hit by gunfire.
Hours of police body and dash camera videos released Friday along with hundreds of dispatch recordings paint a vivid picture of the May 15 shooting that rocked the northwestern New Mexico community. Three women were killed and six other people were injured — all at the hands of a lone 18-year-old gunman who was killed by officers.
The 911 calls convey the widening chaos as residents called in the location of bullet-pocked vehicles, including an abandoned car with a door flung open and shattered windshield. Others helped a woman struck by flying glass inside her car.
“A lady is in the car. And it looks like there was a bullet that went through the windshield and she’s bleeding bad,” one caller told an emergency dispatcher.
As officers gathered on a street corner, they tried to make sense of what they were hearing from dispatchers and witnesses and take stock of their colleagues and the victims who had been taken to the hospital. One asked if it was a traffic stop that went bad.
“No, just shots fired,” Detective Christopher Stanton replied. “People started calling in, ’Hey, we’re getting multiple shots down here — 30, 40 rounds, and then they just started pouring in.”
He talked about a woman believed to be the first victim. A bullet broke through her windshield as she drove down a street lined by homes and churches. Shards flew and there was more gunfire, and she pulled down a side street not knowing where it was coming from.
Meanwhile dispatchers were juggling 911 calls in rapid succession, coaxing details from rattled callers with quavering voices.
“There’s a lady here, she’s bleeding right now,” one caller said to a dispatcher, who provided first aid instructions.
Another call came from inside a home: “We heard screaming and crying,” the woman said.
In another 911 audio recording, labeled “Suspects Mother,” a woman said her son had been suffering from depression and worried he might be involved in the shooting. The woman’s identity could not be immediately confirmed.
“I’m just concerned. I have a son that’s been very, very depressed and I’m driving over and just wondering if you could give me any information. You know, he might be just fine. He’s just been really depressed and I was really concerned.”
Authorities have said the shooter, Beau Wilson, 18, discharged more than 190 rounds during the rampage, most of them from the home he shared with his father.
Video released Friday showed officers entering the suspect’s home to clear it, guns drawn, shouting, “Farmington police!”
Family photos lined a wall near the front door, with a framed cross in the middle. Spent casings littered the front porch, where authorities said the gunman had walked outside that morning and indiscriminately started shooting at passing vehicles.
Left dead were Farmington residents Gwendolyn Dean Schofield, 97, her 73-year-old daughter, Melody Ivie, and 79-year-old Shirley Voita, police said.
The audio recordings included an anguished call from a daughter of Ivie after word reached her in Salt Lake City that her mother and grandmother were killed.
“They were shot and killed this morning, potentially on their way to pick up my nephew from school, and I don’t know if there’s anything at all that you might be able to tell me,” Julianne Hamblin said.
Audio conversations also indicated the large scale of the police response, including the coordination of an aircraft to possibly bring in more police. Some off-duty officers were called in, and others cut short calls across town to rush to the scene.
“There’s a guy walking that has black pants and a black shirt on and a gun, and he’s just randomly shooting. … He’s walking down Dustin (Avenue),” a woman said in another 911 call.
“Can you see what type of gun it is?” the dispatcher asked.
The gunman had a rifle and two handguns, authorities later confirmed.
The videos showed officers canvassing the neighborhood, talking with residents and asking if they were OK. Others put up crime scene tape and marked the location of evidence.
Two officers were posted near the gunman’s body to ensure the scene wasn’t disturbed. One seemed stunned at how young the suspect was, saying he appeared to be the same age as his son.
“Crazy,” he said. “Crazy.”
Associated Press journalists Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, and Rio Yamat and Ty O’Neil in Las Vegas, Nevada, contributed to this report.