Mason Campbell changes plea, apologizes

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The 12-year-old changed his plea Friday and then apologized for the shooting.

His attorney’s say he’s ready to move forward and parents News 13 spoke to at Berrendo Middle School say it’s now time for the community to heal.

Cameras weren’t allowed in the courtroom Friday because of Campbell’s age, but he did speak to the judge, and his attorneys spoke on his behalf.

Mason Campbell change of plea hearing
Mason Campbell change of plea hearing

They say he’s sorry for what he did.

He’s accused of taking a gun to Berrendo Middle School in January and firing into the bleachers of the gym.

Nathaniel Tavarez and Kendal Sanders were hit and are still recovering from their serious injuries.

Emotions were high in the courtroom for everyone involved, especially the victim’s families.

“There was a lot of anxiety and stress about it, said Kendal Sander’s attorney Tamara Brock.

But as soon as the hearing wrapped up Campbell’s attorneys apologized to the families on his behalf.

“He is genuinely sorry, genuinely apologetic and sad and hurt about what happened to Kendal and Nathaniel,” said Campbell’s attorney Jason Bowles.

The victim’s families tell us they accept Campbell’s apology but it doesn’t change what happened and the pain it has caused.

“Everything in their world has changed and so every day is a challenge. And it will be for the rest of their lives,” District Attorney Matthew Chandler.

“It was a crime. He committed a crime, said Kendal Sanders’ mother Nickie Portio.

News 13 spoke with other parents whose kids were in the gym the day Campbell pulled the trigger.

They say they’re relieved the whole thing is coming to an end.

Campbell’s mental state is still under evaluation.

He faces anything from probation to juvenile jail time until he’s 21 at his sentencing set for July 2nd.

Investigators haven’t released a motive for the shooting, but a worker at a Roswell furniture store says Mason told her he was going to bring a gun to school because he was fed up with bullying.

KRQE asked Campbell’s attorney, Robert Gorence, about that.

“We’ll get into that on July 2nd. Why don’t we save those questions for then, and I think they’ll all be answered in greater detail,” Gorence said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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