Police find note on body of teen shooter who killed 3 in Farmington, New Mexico shooting

Investigation shows Beau Wilson had more than 1,400 rounds of ammo at his disposal

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Farmington High School senior who killed three people earlier this week in a neighborhood shooting spree before police fatally shot him was carrying a note in which he warned people to leave his little sister alone.

The existence of the note apparently written by 18-year-old Beau Wilson was revealed by Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe during a Wednesday, May 17 news conference at the Farmington Civic Center. An image of the note — scrawled on what appeared to be two Post-it notes — was projected on a screen behind Hebbe as he described its contents.

“If (you're) reading this, I’m (at) the end of the chapter,” the note states. “Lay eyes or (dare) put a finger on my little sister I (promise) there will be regrets.”

The note was just one of several additional details authorities brought up about their investigation into the Monday, May 15 shooting on North Dustin Avenue in Farmington. Besides the three women who were killed, several people were wounded, including two police officers.

Chief Steve Hebbe of the Farmington Police Department addresses the media during a Wednesday, May 17 news conference at the Farmington Civic Center about the May 15 shooting in the city that left three victims and the gunman dead.

More:Gunman who killed 3 in Farmington, NM was high school senior, fired indiscriminately: police

Earlier on Wednesday, Farmington police released photographs of the three women — Shirley Voita, 79; Melody Ivie, 73; and Gwendolyn Schofield, 98 — who perished. The families of the three women, in a message released by police, asked for privacy as they grieve.

Hebbe said new details about the shooting are still emerging and police would be releasing body camera video from the incident on Thursday, May 18.

“We learned new stuff just in the last 24 hours,” he said.

Shooter wore modified body armor, had other weapons at home

The shooter apparently was well-armed and prepared for the conflict, authorities said.

Hebbe said Wilson had an AR-15 assault rifle, a .22 caliber pistol and a 9 mm pistol. A subsequent search of the Dustin Avenue residence where Wilson was living with his father revealed that Wilson was in possession of more than 1,400 rounds of ammunition - in the weapons he was carrying or accessible to him in the house - Hebbe said.

More:Outpouring of support after 3 die, 2 officers injured in Farmington, New Mexico shooting

Wilson also was wearing a bulletproof vest with soft body armor that he modified to include steel plates, the chief said. Wilson purchased three magazines for the AR-15 just two days before the shooting, Hebbe said.

Capt. Kevin Burns of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, one of the law enforcement agencies that responded to the shooting, said the investigation into the incident shows that seven houses and 11 vehicles were struck by gunfire. He said Wilson fired at least 141 rounds from the home he shared with his father before heading south on Dustin Avenue and firing dozens of more shots.

Farmington police officers confronted Wilson in what Hebbe described as “a sharp exchange of gunfire” at the First Church of Christ Scientist at 713 N. Dustin Ave. just minutes after the incident began, Burns said.

Wilson began firing from outside his home, discarding the AR-15 after expending most of its ammunition, Hebbe said. He then began firing from the .22 caliber pistol and nearly emptied it before discarding it and moving on to what Hebbe called his “last stand” at the church. Wilson took off his bulletproof vest and emptied the 9 mm pistol before officers shot and killed him.

Hebbe said the search of the family home showed Wilson also had an additional 10 weapons.

More:Farmington, New Mexico shooting victims: 3 women killed, 2 officers injured identified

Investigators still don’t know what Wilson's motive was, Hebbe said.

Shooter was scheduled to graduate the next day from Farmington High School

Roberto Taboada, the public information officer for the Farmington Municipal School District, confirmed on Wednesday that Wilson, a participant in the school’s wrestling program, had been scheduled to graduate with the Class of 2023 during its commencement exercises on Tuesday, May 16. Taboada said he was prohibited from releasing any disciplinary records Wilson may have accrued during his time at the school.

Hebbe said on Wednesday his department was seeking a subpoena for those records. He said the information Wilson’s family shared with investigators continues to indicate Wilson was experiencing mental health issues.

Hebbe, who on Monday had been attending a family gathering in Wisconsin with his wife, said he was contacted by his officers shortly after the shooting began and was monitoring the situation over the phone. He and his wife drove back to Farmington right away and arrived on Tuesday, he said.

“It was frustrating and difficult to be so far away at a difficult time,” he said.

Hebbe said the community and his officers have experienced a difficult five weeks, going back to the shooting in early April of a Farmington man in the doorway of his home by three Farmington Police officers after they mistakenly went to the wrong address while responding to a domestic violence call.

Hebbe alluded to the sharp criticism his department received in the wake of that incident, but he said his officers have tried to rally and conduct themselves professionally. The way his officers handled themselves during Monday’s shooting was a testament to their commitment and sense of duty, he said.

“They responded and did the job,” he said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610

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