Two different school buses taking high school volleyball players home from Española, New Mexico were hit by BB gun pellets that broke some windows.
The incident occurred Tuesday night. The two buses were from Peñasco ISD and Questa ISD, each of which owns and operates their own buses, according to a Peñasco district spokesman. KOB 4 reports that two girls on the Peñasco bus were injured by flying glass. There were scrapes and scratches, said the father of one of the girls, but “no major injuries." Police said one student on the Questa bus, which was hit 10 minutes later, was also injured by broken glass.
In a letter to parents, Peñasco Superintendent Marvin MacAuley said that several children were picked up by parents on-scene, and the rest were picked up by school staff. Their bus was left with the police department. He added that the incidents were considered random and not targeted specifically toward the district’s students.
A detective said that the incident could be considered “aggravated battery” and that the perpetrators would face “very serious charges.”
Police are still investigating but have not identified suspects or a motive. “Student safety is our priority and we are working with law enforcement to help find who is responsible,” said MacAuley. A district spokesman said that there were no new leads as of Friday morning.
Around the same time the buses were hit, police reported, eight windows of a kindergarten school were shot out. Law enforcement believes all three shootings were related. They are reviewing video footage and asking anyone with information to report it.
According to commenters on KOB4’s Facebook post on the incident, visiting athletes have been similarly attacked in the past in Española. One individual commented that rocks and other debris were thrown at a visiting football team who beat the home team and a police escort was needed out of the town.
“This happened a few times to visiting basketball teams,” wrote one commenter. “When I was playing sports in school traveling to Española was terrifying. Sad to see it hasn't gotten any better,” commented another.
A parent commented, “My son played basketball there in 2004. After beating them we found a window broken on the bus. Had to have police escort to the motel. The police then took the bus to impound to keep it safe. Police stayed outside of the motel all night. I know there are good people in the town but the bad apples are bad!!”
Other commenters disagreed, saying that the crime rate in Española was nothing outstanding, that incidents like the bus shootings happened in other cities, and that all cities contain good and bad people. But according to Neighborhood Scout and City-Data, Española does have a higher violent crime rate than the national average.
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