The shootings prompted an evacuation of the high school and other schools were put on lockdown in the remote town of about 6,000 people some 200 miles southeast of El Paso in Brewster County, officials said.
“This community did not expect this. We don’t want this and we can’t explain it yet,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said in an interview with KWES-TV.
The names and ages of the two students have not yet been released, Dodson said. The student who survived, “had run out into the street and some local people picked her up and took her to the hospital,” he said.
Several shots were fired in the school’s band hall, where the suspected shooter was found dead with a weapon, Dodson told KWES. It showed video of students consoling each other near the school.
One federal officer responding to the incident was shot by accident by a colleague, Dodson said.
Officers were also on the scene of nearby Sul Ross State University because of a reported bomb threat, he said.
“I’m not (used) to all this craziness that is going on in Alpine,” wrote Facebook user Anna Maria, whose profile lists Alpine as her residence. “Much to do in my little town.”
Alpine Middle School, which is about a mile from the high school, said in a Facebook post that it was in “a critical lockdown. Everyone is safe and accounted for.”
The United States has long been plagued by shootings at schools and colleges, some of which have claimed dozens of lives. The deadliest mass school shooting was in 2007, when a gunman slaughtered 32 people at Virginia Tech university. In 2012, a gunman shot dead 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The deadliest attack on a U.S. high school occurred in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, when a pair of heavily armed teenagers shot dead 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School, wounding 20 others. In all three attacks, the shooters were male and they ended their rampages by killing themselves.