IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

New Mexico shooter used three weapons, including AR-15, and left a note

Officers fatally shot Beau Wilson, 18, in front of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Farmington.
Get more newsLiveon

The teenage gunman who fatally shot three elderly women used three weapons — including an AR-15 — before officers brought him down in front of a church, New Mexico authorities said Wednesday.

Beau Wilson, 18, opened fire from his own home before he walked out and continued to shoot indiscriminately beginning about 11 a.m. Monday, hitting seven houses and 11 cars, San Juan County Sheriff's Capt. Kevin Burns said.

Investigators have picked up at least 176 rounds, 141 of which were fired from Wilson's home, Burns said.

He had squeezed off 18 shots at officers in front of First Church of Christ, Scientist, at 713 N. Dustin Ave., when police killed him, Burns said.

In addition to the three weapons Wilson used, 10 more firearms were in his house, police said. There were more than 1,400 rounds between those he fired and the ammunition in the house, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said.

"The suspect had access to a lot, a lot, of ammunition," Hebbe told reporters.

Image: Investigators work along a residential street following a deadly shooting on May 15, 2023, in Farmington, N.M.
Investigators work along a residential street Monday after a deadly shooting in Farmington, N.M. Susan Montoya Bryan / AP

After he used the AR-15 to shoot from his house, Wilson dumped it in some nearby bushes, Hebbe said. The high-capacity weapon had one round in the chamber and a magazine with some rounds remaining, he said.

The AR-15 was bought in November, shortly after Wilson turned 18 in October, and he then bought three magazines for it just two days before the attack, officials said.

"I'm not sure why he made that decision to discard it at that point, but he did," Hebbe said, referring to the AR-15.

Wilson also fired and discarded a .22-caliber pistol with at least one round left in it before he encountered police in front of the church with a 9 mm pistol, Hebbe said.

The shooter was wearing a bulletproof vest during some of the exchange but then ditched it, as well, Hebbe said. "By the time we confront him at the final battle place, he's removed it for whatever reason."

"We find the 9 mm pistol is with him. We believe that is what he was using in the final exchange of shots with our officers. That pistol was emptied by the time the battle was over," he said.

Authorities also revealed Wednesday that investigators found a note on Wilson's body that appeared to show he knew his actions would end in death.

Monday's carnage unfolded a little more than 24 hours before his classmates walked across the stage at Farmington High School's graduation.

In a long statement Wednesday, Wilson’s family acknowledged the communitywide pain.

“We would like to start by sending our condolences to all of the victims and their loved ones," the family said. "We know that the community and families involved are dealing with a lot of pain."

Investigators have not been able to discover any obvious motive for Wilson's action, but they said loved ones had worried about his mental health.

"My brother was fighting a battle of mental illness that he lost. He was set to graduate on Tuesday," the family said.

Wilson's loved ones insisted they knew him as a caring person and not the gun-wielding killer he turned out to be Monday.

"This is all very shocking to us as we only knew him as a kind hearted young man that loved his family and friends dearly. We understand that a lot of people are experiencing many emotions," the family's statement continued. "We are also grieving the loss of our brother, son, grandson, uncle and friend. We once again just want to send our condolences and deepest sympathy to everyone involved. We will continue to pray and search for answers.”

Wilson's gunfire struck and killed Shirley Voita, 79, Melody Ivie, 73, and Gwendolyn Schofield, 97, who were all in cars. Schofield was Ivie’s mother.