ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a scary evening in Espanola Tuesday for some visitors. Buses carrying high school athletes from two different towns were shot at. Police believe it was a pellet gun, but no one on those buses knew that Tuesday night.
The first bus was hit on Fairview near Angelina’s Restaurant around 8:30 p.m. It was carrying the Penasco girls volleyball team who had just played McCurdy Charter School.
“There were two windows shot out, one was in the rear of the bus and one was more toward the front,” Espanola Police Detective Manuel Romero said.
The students on that bus were quickly ordered to the ground and the coach called 911. One student left with cuts to her face from the glass that was blown out.
Just minutes later, Espanola Police got another call that a second bus had been hit on Riverside between Walmart and McDonald’s. It was a bus headed back to Questa, carrying the Questa co-ed soccer team that had just played in Santa Fe.
Police have determined the shooter used a pellet gun in both cases, but at the time the kids thought it was a real gun.
“They are visibly shaken. I have talked to a couple of the players and you know, they come up and give a hug and they start crying. They’re so afraid they have never been exposed to this kind of incident,” Penasco Superintendent Marvin MacAuley said.
To make matters worse, Espanola Police got another call from teachers at Los Ninos Kindergarten Center on Wednesday morning.
“It appeared to be [BB gun pellets]. I noted that there were BBs right in front of the windows. They didn’t penetrate the double pane glass. Some stuck inside and some on the floor,” Detective Romero said.
Eight windows were shattered, further putting the community on edge.
“It’s very scary in light of the current situation that is happening in our community right now. We never know when we’ll become a target,” MacAuley said.
“Any attack on a bus is a concern for any school official or parent and of course, the kids,” Questa Superintendent Dave Albert said.
There is no word on a possible suspect. However, police say there have been at least two burglaries at Los Ninos, so they’re investigating a possible connection.
At this point, they think the buses were just random targets.
Police say the person who did this could face more than 35 counts of aggravated assault — one for each person on the buses.