An 18-year-old gunman fired indiscriminately at houses and vehicles while roaming a residential street in Farmington, N.M., on Monday morning, killing three people — including a 97-year-old woman and her daughter — before the police arrived and killed the suspect in a firefight, the authorities said. Six other people, including two officers, were injured.
The police identified the suspect as Beau Wilson, a student at Farmington High School who went on the rampage with three firearms, including an assault-style rifle. More than 100 rounds were fired between the suspect and police, with at least three officers rushing to the scene without body armor because the shooting started when they were on their way to lunch, the authorities said.
Officials said on Tuesday that they were still investigating the motive. Deputy Chief Kyle Dowdy of the Farmington Police Department said at a news conference that while the suspect had committed minor infractions as a juvenile, there was “nothing that would rise to the level of serious crime.” Chief Dowdy said police were still looking for any notes or explanation that the shooter may have left behind.
The local emergency services received more than 100 calls when the shooting erupted in a sprawling scene that stretched for about a quarter of a mile along Dustin Avenue, the authorities said
The three victims who were killed were identified by the police as Shirley Volta, 79, Gwendolyn Schofield, 97, and Melody Ivie, 73. Ms. Schofield was Ms. Ivie’s mother. All three were shot as they were going by in vehicles, the authorities said.
“This is such a tragic event, it’s overwhelming to the senses,” Chief Dowdy said. “I don’t care what age you are. I don’t care what else is going on in your life. To kill three innocent, elderly women that were just absolutely in no position to defend themselves is always going to be a tragedy.”
Ms. Ivie was well known for running a private preschool in Farmington that parents signed up for long in advance, said Brandy Brown, a local nurse whose daughter attended the school. “She had just the purest servant heart,” Ms. Brown said in an interview. “She’s almost a legend.”
Several people who were injured in the shooting were treated at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, Chief Crum said. Others were treated at the scene.
The authorities received several reports of shots fired near Dustin Avenue and Ute Street just before 11 a.m. Monday, Chief Steve Hebbe of the Farmington Police Department said in a video statement released that night, adding that the rampage appeared to be “purely random.” Officers located the shooter in the 700 block of North Dustin Avenue, Chief Hebbe said, where they shot and killed him.
Chief Hebbe said that the gunman used at least three different weapons, including an “AR-style rifle,” a gun commonly used in mass shootings, as he roamed through the neighborhood, randomly firing “at whatever entered his head to shoot at” including at least six houses and three cars. The suspect turned 18 in October and legally purchased the assault rifle in November, Chief Dowdy said at the news conference Tuesday. The other weapons he used belonged to a family member.
The two injured police officers — one from the Farmington Police Department, and a state police officer — were treated at the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, the authorities said. The state police officer had been released by Monday night and the other officer was “doing well,” according to Chief Hebbe.
The shooting sent shock waves through the city of about 46,000 people, which is about 140 miles northwest of Albuquerque near the Navajo Nation reservation. The city serves as a commercial hub for nearby oil-producing areas as well as much of northwestern New Mexico.
Matt Mizell, the lead pastor of Hills Church, which hosted a vigil for the victims on Monday evening, said that the community, which also suffered a nearby school shooting in 2017, was reeling from the carnage. “It has shaken the community to its core,” he said.
Joseph Robledo, a 32-year-old tree trimmer, told The Associated Press that he had rushed home after learning that his wife and 1-year-old daughter had sought shelter in the laundry room when gunshots rang out.
A bullet went through his daughter’s window and room, without hitting anyone, Mr. Robledo said, adding that he and others had administered first aid to a woman who appeared to have been wounded while driving through the neighborhood. “We’ve been doing yard work all last week,” Mr. Robledo told The A.P. “I just thank God that nobody was outside in front.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico said on Twitter that she was “deeply upset by the tragic violence” and that her administration would “not stop fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”
In a joint statement, members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation said that they were “devastated” by the shooting and added that they would continue working to ensure federal resources were made available.
“Although Congress took major action to combat gun violence last year through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, today is a painful reminder that we must do more,” the lawmakers, all Democrats, said. “We are committed to fighting for sensible gun safety measures that will keep New Mexicans safe.”
The shooting is being investigated by the Farmington Police Department, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded, its Phoenix field office said.