My apologies. This is a story that I should have brought to you last week, but extenuating circumstances prevented me from doing so.
Anyway, as you may recall, on Friday, August 13th, a shooting took place at Washington Middle School shooting in Albuquerque, New Mexico that left one student dead. 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove tried to get 13-year-old Juan Saucedo to stop bullying Hargrove’s friends. Instead, Saucedo took the gun he stole from his father out of his waistband and shot Hargrove six times. Bennie Hargrove later died at the hospital from his injuries.
At the time of Saucedo’s arrest, I speculated on if he would be tried as an adult, since he’d been charged with an open count of murder and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises. That turned out to be a moot point since under New Mexico law, anyone under the age of 14 can’t be tried as an adult. That means if Saucedo is sentenced to juvenile detention, he could be released at 21 years of age.
Speaking of being held, Saucedo was also ordered to remain in custody for the time being. Saucedo’s public defender argued that Saucedo would be better off in the custody of his parents since he suffers from mental illness, is on medication, and sees a therapist. If that is the case, then why was a gun even in the house, let alone allegedly left in the reach of a mentally ill child? Both of Saucedo’s parents have been implicated in alleged incidents of violence that took on school grounds, although no charges were ever brought up.
And speaking of the gun, prosecutors are saying that charges could be filed against Saucedo’s parents. They mention a previous instance that I had completely forgotten about. In Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a student took his parents’ gun to school and fired a round. Luckily, no one was injured. Prosecutors there charged the parents with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after it was discovered the gun was allegedly left unsecured in a bedroom closet. As far as I know, that case is still pending. However, the penalty for this charge would be at the most 18 months behind bars.
That’s not a lot of justice to go around for such a tragedy.
Lastly, it’s believed that a number of students knew that Saucedo had brought a gun to school. Saucedo is believed to have shown off the gun, and no student told anyone. In some ways, I can understand no one wanting to tell, since they might think that they’re the ones who are going to be shot. However, a lot of these kids are going to have survivor’s guilt for not telling anyone. That’s a lot of trauma they’re going to have to carry for a long time. These kids need to be made to understand that a gun inside a school needs to be reported under any circumstances.