Lawsuit claims school officials knew about gun before deadly shooting

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove was shot and killed during recess for standing up to a bully at Washington Middle School in 2021.

Now, a new bombshell allegation says a school resource officer knew about the gun that killed him – and did nothing.

The allegations are coming to light in a wrongful death civil lawsuit that Bennie Hargrove’s family filed against the school district.

They say recent interviews with students revealed school officials were made aware of the gun before the deadly shooting. They also say Juan Saucedo Jr. – the boy that pleaded no contest in the murder – was punching another student in the face the day before the shooting, and the school did nothing to punish him.

“It makes us feel like Bennie didn’t matter,” said Vanessa Sawyer, Bennie’s grandmother “Like he was just another kid, you know? To us, he wasn’t just another kid.”

Court documents claim that both the school principal and the school resource officer were made aware of the gun on school grounds before the shooting, but took no action. Not only that, but there was a serious lack of supervision during recess at the time of the shooting.

“If the boy was suspended for the problems that he had the day before, he wouldn’t have been in school on the 13th to shoot Bennie,” said Collette Wise, Bennie’s mom.

KOB 4 reached out to APS, but a spokesperson said they do not comment on pending litigation.