Casey Jordan Marquez and Francisco Fernandez were killed in a shooting at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, on December 7, 2017. Family photos
Education | National

Shooter at school near reservation frequented pro-Trump White supremacist sites




The 21-year-old New Mexico man who killed two students at a school near the Navajo Nation frequented pro-Donald Trump White supremacist websites and praised school shooters, The Daily Beast reports in an exclusive.

William Edward Atchison, who once attended Aztec High School in New Mexico, harbored negative sentiments about African-Americans, followers of the Jewish and Muslim faiths and gay and lesbian people, according to social media posts uncovered by The Daily Beast. The victims of the shooting at the school, just outside of the northwestern border of the reservation, had Hispanic surnames -- Casey Jordan Marquez, 17, and Francisco Fernandez, 17, though authorities have not said they were intentionally targeted.

“Generally, mass shooters spend a period of time prior to their action steeped in studying previous shooters," Ryan Lenz, who monitors hate groups and extremism for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Daily Beast. "They study the aftermath of these individuals. They have a great deal of esteem or respect for others who have done the same.”

No Navajo students were harmed but tribal leaders expressed alarm at the shooting, which took place December 7. A significant number of tribal citizens live in and near Aztec, and nearby schools, both on and off the reservation, were placed on lockdown following the incident.

Marquez was a senior at Aztec and served as captain of the school's cheer team, The Farmington Daily-Times reported. She also coached gymnastics, the paper said.

Fernandez was a junior who recently transferred to Aztec, the paper reported. He played football and other sports.

Atchison, who expressed suicidal thoughts online, took his own life at the school, authorities said.

Read More on the Story:
New Mexico School Shooter Had Secret Life on Pro-Trump White-Supremacy Sites (The Daily Beast December 15, 2017)

Also Today:
Reporter’s notebook by Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi: Love trumps rivalry as players don Aztec colors (The Navajo Times December 14, 2017)

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Navajo Nation leaders offer condolences after two students die in school shooting (December 7, 2017)