At 4:13 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, Clovis High School sophomore Nathaniel Jouett opened fire with two handguns on apparently random victims at the Clovis-Carver Public Library, killing two library workers—Krissie Carter, 48, and Wanda Walters, 61—and non-fatally injuring four other people before surrendering peacefully to law enforcement.
Police documents obtained by Albuquerque’s KOB-TV state that Jouett was angry and “wanted to shoot the school up and then kill himself” but ended up at the library for unspecific reasons. Jouett’s pastors at Living Word Church of God in Clovis told The Eastern New Mexico News that the 16-year-old suffered anxiety attacks and had considered suicide, but they believed he was in the process of recovering after a “very hard life.”
Jouett is being held at the juvenile detention facility in Clovis. On Sept. 8, a grand jury will decide if he will be tried as an adult and face two minimum sentences of life in prison if convicted of both murders.
On the Friday before the shooting, Jouett received a 2-day suspension from school for fighting. The same day, a YouTube channel called “the entity”—which is believed to belong to friends of Jouett—began posting cryptic, vaguely threatening videos, including one that suggested the possibility of a school shooting. The videos went viral in Clovis on Monday night and prompted the majority of CHS and Freshman Academy students to stay home or leave class early on Tuesday despite increased police presence on their campuses. Clovis Police Chief Douglas Ford said the department had followed up with the individuals behind the videos and found no credible threats to the schools.
Tensions remained high in Clovis on Wednesday as more than 30 bomb or shooting threats were called in to local businesses and Plains Regional Medical Center. Police asked people to stay home while they attempted to trace the source of the threats. Several lock downs and evacuations took place, but there was no additional violence.
Clovis’ grieving citizens turned to God and their shared faith for comfort and direction in the wake of the attack. Several churches—including Walters’ own Bethel Assembly of God—held special services dedicated to praying for the victims, their families, and the city. A candlelight vigil was held at the library on Thursday night.
Pastor David Swann of Faith Christian Family Church opened his congregation’s Tuesday night gathering by saying, “We’re not gonna let evil define our city.” Mayor David Lansford joined two other guest speakers who prayed and offered words of encouragement and consolation between songs led by the church’s worship band.
“Nothing like this should ever happen in our city,” Lansford said. “What do you say [to the victims’ families] except ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’?”