SPARKS, Nev. — Students cowered in fear and pleaded for their lives as a 12-year-old Nevada boy went on a schoolyard rampage with a handgun he brought from home, waving the weapon at frightened classmates and shooting a math teacher in the chest on a basketball court.
The boy opened fire Monday morning on the Sparks Middle School campus, wounding two boys and killing the teacher before he turned the gun on himself.
Washoe County School District police revealed Tuesday that the seventh-grader brought the 9 mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun from his home, but authorities were still working to determine how he obtained it. The student’s parents were cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case, police said.
Eighth-grader Angelo Ferro recalled burying his face in his hands as the boy waved the gun and threatened to shoot. Another seventh-grader and Ferro’s math teacher, Michael Landsberry, lay gunned down nearby.
“The whole time I was hoping Mr. L was OK, we’d all get through it, it was a bad dream,” Ferro told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Ferro, 13, was in the schoolyard with friends when the violence erupted.
He heard a pop about 15 minutes before the morning bell rang but didn’t think much of it. He then saw an injured boy clutching his wounded arm, and he watched Landsberry walk toward the gunman and take a bullet to the chest.
Unable to get inside the locked-down school, Ferro and others crouched against the building for safety but soon came face-to-face with the armed student.
Ferro didn’t know the boy but said he and other frightened classmates begged for their lives and tried to talk him out of firing. Something distracted the student, and he didn’t shoot. “He left, thank God,” Ferro said.
A series of 911 calls made from the school also reflected the terror of the situation, including an ominous report of “teacher down.”