Law enforcement investigating Aztec High School shooter's online activity

Law enforcement stress it is early in the Aztec High School shooting investigation

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • The shooter killed two students before killing himself on Dec. 7.
  • San Juan County Sheriff's Office and FBI are investigating the online activity of the shooter.
  • FBI agent said shooter was investigated in 2016 but did not find evidence of a crime being committed.
From left, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christsen, Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal, Terry Wade, special agent in charge of the FBI's Albuquerque Division and New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas hold a news conference on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 at the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in Aztec.

FARMINGTON — Law enforcement is investigating the online activities of the Aztec High School shooter, who was the focus of an article published online today about racist and violent posts the shooter may be linked to on websites and internet forums.

The website The Daily Beast posted an article about the shooter's alleged obsession with school shootings and school shooters along with posts about threats of violence.

The FBI and the San Juan County Sheriff's office are saying little about the posts as the investigation continues.

The article reports William Atchison visited and posted on multiple websites and forums, including the software distribution platform Steam and the forum for a computer game called Blockland.

He reportedly used several usernames on the websites and made usernames referencing other school shooters, according to the article.

MORE:2 students killed, shooter dead after Aztec High School shooting

The Daily Times has received anonymous e-mails with links to online posts attributed to the shooter, but has not yet verified the authenticity of the posts.

During a Dec. 8 press conference, FBI agent Terry Wade said agents spoke with the shooter as part of an investigation in 2016.

A person had reported Atchison wrote on an online gaming site asking about cheap assault rifles for a mass shooting, according to the Daily Times archives.

The investigation ended after the FBI did not find evidence of a crime having been committed and found that no firearms were in his possession. At a Dec. 8 press conference officials confirmed that he eventually legally purchased the pistol he used to commit his crimes.

Senior Casey Marquez and junior Francisco "Paco" Fernandez were shot and killed on Dec. 7 in Aztec High School before the shooter killed himself.

Captain Brice Current of the San Juan County Sheriff's Office told The Daily Times their office and the FBI are investigating the shooter's online activity. He also stressed that it is still very early in the multi-agency investigation.

Part of the investigation will be examining a computer taken from the shooter's residence for evidence, Current said.

MORE:A quiet New Mexico town tries to make sense of violence after school shooting

The sheriff's office, the FBI and New Mexico State Police are collaborating on the investigation.

Investigators are planning to interview people in the United States and internationally who contacted or spoke online with the shooter, Current said.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said the agency is assisting the sheriff's office and state police with the case and declined to comment on the investigation.

A spokeswoman for state police referred all questions about the investigation to the sheriff's office.

MORE:Bonfire will focus on healing after Aztec H.S. shooting

The sheriff's office is also investigating suspicious posts about the shooting on social media, Current said.

Social media posts made by students on the day of the shooting were investigated and the sheriff's office found none of them were valid, according to Current.

Current said the sheriff's office is encouraging community members to take a screen capture of suspicious social media messages or posts related to the shooting and include the username of the person who wrote the post or sent the message.

Anyone with information about suspicious social media posts or messages in connection to the shooting is asked to call nonemergency dispatch at 505-334-6622.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at


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