Shooting victims mourned by family members, friends
Two students from Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, describe the chaotic scene at the school when a gunman opened fire Thursday morning, December 7, 2017. One student's cousin was killed in the shooting.Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
Murdered students were active in extracurricular activities
FARMINGTON — Aztec High School senior Casey Marquez was in the hallway of the school when she was shot and killed Thursday morning.
Marquez was a gymnastics coach at Farmington Gymnastics Academy and the captain of the Aztec High School cheer team.
Her maternal grandparents spoke during a vigil Thursday night in Minium Park in Aztec.
"She loved all of you," her grandfather, Terry Lattin, said during the vigil. "She loved everybody."
He said Marquez would have appreciated the showing of support at the vigil Thursday night.
Gov. Susana Martinez told reporters on Friday that Marquez was preparing to cheer at the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Dec. 30.
Aztec High School junior Francisco "Paco" Fernandez transferred to Aztec High School this year and previously attended Piedra Vista High School in Farmington. He was an athlete who played football and basketball, and wrestled.
He entered the boys restroom at Aztec High School while the shooter was there making preparations to take a class hostage, as he had outlined in a note he had written that was found afterward. Police say Fernandez inadvertently may have saved lives by entering the restroom. Because the shooter shot Fernandez, alerting others to his presence, he was unable to follow through on his hostage plan, according to police.
Fernandez had played football for Piedra Vista High School before transferring.
"I felt like he was a good kid," Piedra Vista football coach Jared Howell said Friday.
He said Fernandez was well liked by his teammates, and Howell's son also knew and liked Fernandez.
"We're just really sad and heartbroken that this happened to him," Howell said.
Howell said the Piedra Vista players are willing to help Aztec students and the community.
"They're family to us, as far as we're concerned," he said.
According to Fernandez's cousin, Ramon Lopez, Fernandez cared about his grades and was there for people when they needed him.
"If you ever needed that one person to talk to, that was him," Lopez told The Daily Times during the vigil Thursday night.
The state of New Mexico is also providing funds to pay for the funerals, according to the governor.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.