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Mother of a Washington Middle School Student: “I’m not afraid of COVID, I’m more afraid of all this violence…”

August 16, 2021

On Friday afternoon, 13 year-old, Bennie Hargrove, was shot and killed by another classmate at Washington Middle School. According to reports, Hargrove was de-escalating a fight after he asked the shooter to stop bullying one of his friends at lunchtime. 

According to police, the 13 year-old shooter brought the gun to school from his home. Earlier in the day, the shooter showed classmates the firearm. At lunchtime, Hargrove asked the shooter to stop bullying his friend, and the shooter pulled out the gun and shot him six times. Hargrove died at the hospital. The shooter’s father later told police that he noticed his gun was missing around noon, but by the time he got to the school he was too late. 

Research shows that with gun violence on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their own home, a relative’s home, or from friends. Securely storing firearms — locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition —  can help prevent these shootings. Currently, New Mexico does not have a secure storage law.  

The shooting was at least the 82nd homicide in the city, surpassing the highest number of homicides the city has seen in one year. In 2019, there were 81 homicides. It was also the second fatal shooting in less than a day. On Thursday night, a man was shot and killed and three others were wounded during a fight at an Uptown sports bar in the city according to the Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and has continued to see rising gun violence over the last year. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have prioritized making sure that Albuquerque communities are safe from gun violence. This legislative session, alongside partners, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and supporters sent over 328 email messages to New Mexico lawmakers, including over 252 email messages, in addition to numerous tweets, supporting legislation to eliminate qualified immunity. The legislation went into effect July 1. 

More on gun violence in New Mexico: 

  • In New Mexico, nearly 420 people are shot and killed every year and nearly 880 people shot and wounded every year in the state.
  • New Mexico has the seventh highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S.
  • In the last decade, gun violence has increased over 50 percent, compared to 17 percent nationwide. And in the same time frame, gun homicide has increased nearly 90 percent. 
  • Gun violence costs New Mexico $3.1 billion each year, of which $131.9 million is paid by taxpayers. 

Additional information on gun violence in New Mexico is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how New Mexico’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available hereTo speak with a local volunteer about recent gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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