Yesterday authorities in Brewster County say a 14-year-old female freshman shot and injured another female student at Alpine High School before turning the gun on herself. Travis Bubenik from Marfa Public Radio reports that neither the identity of the shooter or the victim have been released – but authorities don’t believe the victim’s injuries are life-threatening.
Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown talked to reporters about how the scene unfolded Thursday morning: “And we didn’t even know that the young lady that was deceased was our shooter – we thought we still had an active shooter out there.”
Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said the shooting quote “could’ve been much worse” – though he didn’t elaborate. Authorities say they’ll be investigating and possibly release more information as to a motive in the coming days.
The shooting investigation was thrown into chaos through the day as authorities later received multiple bomb threats at different locations across Alpine and one in the neighboring town of Marathon, Texas.
Sheriff Dodson said officers were forced to treat those as credible – though he described them as pranks. He has vowed to find and prosecute the anonymous male caller responsible: “He is priority right now – because of what he’s done to our community – what he’s done to law enforcement. I mean the money he has cost this area.”
The threats forced the campus of Sul Ross State University to go into lockdown – though that campus and all Alpine schools were later cleared.
Freelance reporter Rachel Monroe spent yesterday in Alpine talking with people in the community. She told the Texas Standard that the shooting, along with the multiple threats to safety in other areas of the town, have shaken the sense of peace and security.
“It’s a very small town and it was all that anybody was talking about in the grocery store, in the coffee shop, just on the street,” Monroe says. “I heard one man say ‘We’ve had murders in Alpine before, but never anything like this that affected the whole community.’ … This is a town where people don’t lock their doors and so it’s just a sense of ambient threat.”
Listen to Bubenik’s story and the Standard’s interview with Rachel Monroe in the audio players above.