RIO RANCHO, N.M. – A teen who authorities say fired a gun at a New Mexico school and intended to kill his ex-girlfriend has been ordered to remain in detention while he undergoes mental health evaluations.
State District Judge George Eichwald rejected on Monday a request from a defense attorney to release the 16-year-old suspect. The judge said he believed the teen was still a danger to himself and the community.
Police said the teen opened fire inside a high school in suburban Albuquerque last week before leaving the gun behind and running from the scene. No one was hurt.
The Associated Press is not naming the V. Sue Cleveland High School student from Rio Rancho because of his age. He is facing charges of attempting to commit murder and unlawfully carrying a deadly weapon onto school grounds.
A search warrant affidavit said the teen pointed a gun at three students before shooting. A note found in the 16-year-old boy’s pocket indicated that he had planned to kill his ex-girlfriend and others on Valentine’s Day, court documents said.
Defense attorney Steven Archibeque said the family wanted the teen released so he could be evaluated by his therapist and personal doctors.
But prosecutors argued in court the teen posed a threat and the state could give its own mental health evaluation.
Archibeque said before the shooting the teen was taking medication for a number of mental health issues and underwent a psychiatric assessment two weeks ago.
“He’s been in therapy and the medication now is wearing off,” Archibeque said.
In court, Archibeque said he plans on raising the issue of the teen’s mental competence before the case goes to trial.
Archibeque later told reporters the teen had been in special education since he began school and likely doesn’t understand what’s going on.
Police have not said where the suspect got the gun he carried onto school grounds on the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre that killed 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – the deadliest high school shooting in the nation’s history.
In New Mexico, it is a misdemeanor offense for a person younger than the age of 19 to be in possession of a firearm.
Archibeque said he didn’t know where the teen obtained the weapon.