By Scott Sonner
The Associated Press
SPARKS, Nev. — A student at a Nevada middle school opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two 12-year-old boys and killing a math teacher who was trying to protect children from their classmate.
The unidentified shooter killed himself with the gun after a rampage that occurred in front of 20 to 30 horrified students who had just returned to school from a weeklong fall break. Authorities did not provide a motive for the shooting, and it’s unknown where the student got the gun.
Teacher Michael Landsberry was being hailed for his actions outside Sparks Middle School during the shooting.
“In my estimation, he is a hero. ... We do know he was trying to intervene,” Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said.
Both wounded students were listed in stable condition. One was shot in the shoulder, and the other was hit in the abdomen.
The violence erupted nearly a year after a gunman shocked the nation by opening fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., leaving 26 dead. The Dec. 14 shooting ignited debate over how best to protect the nation’s schools and whether armed teachers should be part of that equation.
Landsberry, 45, was a military veteran and leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said Landsberry served two tours in Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard.
“The kids loved him,” said his sister-in-law, Chanda Landsberry.
She said his life could be summed up by his love of his family, his students and his country.
“To hear that he was trying to stop that is not surprising by any means,” she said.