New Mexico student who gunned down three elderly women was struggling with parents’ divorce
The New Mexico teenager who gunned down three elderly women was struggling with his mental health as he tried to deal with his parents’ ongoing divorce and his recent departure from the high school wrestling team, a new report claims.
Beau Wilson, 18, unleashed a volley of shots on a residential street in Farmington, New Mexico, last Monday, hours before he was due to graduate from high school. The violent episode ended in his death after being shot by the police.
Authorities said interviews with his family and a note found in his pocket indicate that Wilson had mental health issues.
NBC News reported that Wilson was also struggling academically, especially in the wake of his departure from the wrestling team.
Wilson left the team in late February primarily due to a strained relationship with the head coach, according to one of his former teammates.
Beau Wilson, 18, a student at Farmington High School, has been identified as the gunman who opened fire at multiple homes in New Mexico, killing there people and injuring six others.
Lorry Rodriguez, Wilson’s mother, said her son had relied on the wrestling team to keep him anchored as his home and academic lives fell into jeopardy.
‘His life was going to practice, and when he didn’t have that, he had nothing,’ she said. ‘He didn’t have nothing to work for. That’s all he knew.
Rodriguez blamed herself for being blind to the violence her son perpetrated against innocent victims. She said she was aware he had purchased a weapon, but was not particularly worried about it.
‘How did I not know? I ask myself that,’ she said.
She added that although her son was never formally diagnosed with mental illness, he was “shy,” “secluded,” and socially anxious.
At the time of the shooting, Wilson lived with his father in a home that contained an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, apparently legally owned, according to law enforcement authorities. He bought an assault-style rifle last year after he turned 18.
For six weeks after quitting the wrestling team, Beau reportedly did not attend school.
An anonymous individual who was close to Wilson told NBC that leaving the team ‘absolutely crushed him.’
‘It was his identity. It was his happy place, where he didn’t have to worry about things and felt included. And then that’s gone instantly, while he’s having this other hard time. I’m sure this exacerbated this tremendously,’ said the person.
Law enforcement at the scene of a shooting on North Dustin Avenue in Farmington Monday
Former teammates said Wilson’s mental health struggles were evident, but that the teenager was reluctant to share details about his personal life or open up about his feelings.
‘I tried to talk to him about it, but he wouldn’t open up about it,’ said 18-year-old Ivan Smith Jr., a former captain of the team who just graduated.
Authorities said a doorbell camera caught Wilson screaming: ‘come and kill me,’ during his rampage. He was wearing a bulletproof vest that he took off before officers fatally shot him in a church yard.
Despite new information, law enforcement has not yet publicly discussed or revealed a motive for the shocking and tragic shooting that left Shirley Voita, 79, Melody Ivie, 73, and Gwendolyn Schofield, 97, dead.
Each of the victims had been driving by on the usually quiet street when they were struck by bullets.
After shooting the women, Wilson then walked down the street for about a quarter mile, spraying bullets indiscriminately using two pistols.
He discharged a .22-caliber gun and then depleted rounds from a 9-mm weapon in the final shootout with police, during which he let off at least 18 rounds.
Wilson wore what appeared to be a modified protective vest with steel plates, but authorities say he discarded the vest before the shootout with police.
Police body camera video showed the perspective of an officer walking and running down the middle of a residential street, preparing an assault rifle in one hand while barking commands into a radio in the other. On the run, he takes cues from a local resident and a dog runs beside him.
That video is later partially obscured, but a shadow on the ground shows the officer bracing in firing position for the final confrontation.
‘I have eyes on the suspect. He’s walking south. He’s wearing all black,’ an officer tells dispatchers in another video segment.
He then yells, ‘Farmington police! Let’s see your hands!’
A police car speeds by with flashing lights and sirens.
Video from the body camera of Sgt. Rachel Discenza showed her pointing her handgun toward where the suspect was standing. Amid an exchange of gunfire, she falls to the ground, and says: ‘I’m shot.’
She struggles unsuccessfully to get up, and a fellow officer uses her belt as a tourniquet.
‘We got one hit. Get me a medic here for Sarge,’ he yells.
In the grass in front of the church, officers rush to the suspect after the gunfire subsides, telling him not to move. One officer cuffs him, while another says, ‘Subject is down. He is secure.
Wilson legally purchased one of the three firearms used in the shooting in November, but police believe the other two belonged to a relative.
He struck at least six different houses in the neighborhood he grew up in, across what police described as a ‘nearly quarter-mile crime scene.’
Community members hold candles during a prayer vigil at Hills Church, May 15 in Farmington
Farmington City Council members Jeanine Bingham-Kelly , second from left, Linda Rodgers, center, and Sean Sharer, right, participate in a vigil at Hills Church Farmington Monday
One witness told a local outlet he saw the gunman fire upwards of 100 rounds within the first 20 minutes of the attack.
In a video message on Monday, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said the suspect had “roamed” the neighborhood before randomly spraying bullets at cars in houses during the attack.
Six people were also injured in the shooting rampage, including Farmington Police Sergeant Rachel Discenza and New Mexico State Police Officer Andreas Stamatiadis, who were both taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center.
Stamatiadis has been treated and released from the hospital, while Discenza is said to be recovering from a wound to her pelvis.