Vigil held for teen killed in shooting outside Atrisco Heritage HS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A remembrance event was held Sunday night for 16-year-old Elijah Pohl-Morfin near Atrisco Heritage Academy High School.

More than a hundred people gathered to remember Pohl-Morfin.

“Eli was a very special person. He was very sweet, and I know he’s watching over all of us,”

They said he was a good kid. He was bright. liked cars, and playing football. He was on track to graduate in 2025.

Some people who spoke broke down, sobbing. Many called what happened a senseless tragedy.

Bernalillo County deputies say it was all an accident.

The shooting happened on Friday night outside their high school – Atrisco Heritage – nearing 10 o’clock.

Pohl-Morfin and another 16 year old – Adrian Martinez, a classmate – were there to watch a basketball game. 

But they were playing with guns in the parking lot, that’s what deputies say another teenager told them.

That witness said a gun Martinez was holding went off – hitting Pohl-Morfin.

“I am just completely devastated by the tragic loss of one of our students,” said Irene Cisneros, principal of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, on Saturday. “We’re losing innocent lives, and we are just torn about this tragedy.”

The school postponed basketball games, and called off anything else scheduled for this weekend.

“I’m incredibly sad and angry and frustrated that we’re here,” said APS Superintendent Scott Elder on Saturday. “While it appears the shooting was accidental. The investigation is ongoing. The findings don’t change the fact that Elijah is gone, and his classmate’s life has been changed forever.”

After the shooting – instead of calling 911 – deputies say Martinez and another teen took Pohl-Morfin to a hospital, where he later died.

Martinez ran away, but officers caught him. He’s facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

This tragedy happened during a public health order from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham meant to crack down on guns

The governor’s office reported at least six other guns have been found on Albuquerque public school campuses this school year – though none have been found in the month leading up to their most recent update.

Earlier this month, KOB‘s 4 Investigates report showed 17 guns were found on APS campuses last year.

District leaders note their partnerships with law enforcement, prosecutors, and the feds to teach kids about the risks.

“APS has been doing everything we can to educate our students about the dangers of firearms,” said Elder. 

APS leaders brought up the Violence Intervention Program, or VIP. It identifies and helps at-risk students.

Elder says if the district gets enough funding, they would have it at more schools. But that would have to come from state lawmakers.

A governor’s office spokesperson told us the incident is “deeply disturbing and yet another indicator that it is far too easy for minors to access guns.”

They say the administration has taken steps to prevent these incidents, but more work needs to be done.

They say the current public health order is a part of that, and the governor’s office is working on a legislative agenda that will include bills involving guns.

After KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office, it announced she will be having a news conference Monday specifically on the status of this public health order.