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Nevada School Shooting: Teacher Killed, 2 Students Wounded

A teacher was killed and two students were injured when a gunman opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Reno, Nevada on Oct. 21.

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No one knows why he picked this day, this time, these victims.


Michael Landsberry is remembered as a hero on a memorial Facebook page created in his honor.

It was the first day back from fall break at Sparks Middle School. Students milled about, waiting to hear the morning bell.

Within moments, two 12-year-old students were wounded. A beloved teacher — a military veteran — lay dead. And the 12-year-old shooter, armed with his parents’ gun, took his own life, silencing any way of understanding what he was thinking.

“It’s not clear as of right now if he was targeting anyone in particular,” Deputy Chief Tom Miller of the Sparks Police Department said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday.

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A middle school crowded with parents dropping off their children and students hurrying to class erupted into chaos Monday morning as a student drew a semiautomatic handgun and opened fire, killing a teacher and wounding two students before fatally turning the gun on himself.

APphoto_APTOPIX School Shooting Nevada

A Sparks Middle School student reacts after the Oct. 21, 2013, shooting. (credit: Associated Press)

The unidentified shooter was dressed in khaki slacks that are part of Sparks Middle School’s required uniform, witnesses said. He shot one 12-year-old boy in the abdomen and another 12-year-old boy in the shoulder, Sparks Police Department Deputy Chief Tom Miller said, adding that both wounded boys were listed in stable condition. But he declined to identify any of the students or provide additional details, other than confirming that the shooter had committed suicide.

Witnesses said the slain man, identified by family members as eighth-grade math teacher Michael Landsberry, tried to intervene before the boy with the gun aimed his weapon at him and fired.

“We’ve got video we have to review, people we’ve got to talk to,” said Tom Robinson, deputy chief of the Reno Police Department. “But in my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene.”

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Tributes were pouring in Monday for Mike Landsberry, the math teacher and Marine veteran who was killed in a shooting a Sparks Middle School in Nevada.


Michael Landsberry is remembered as a hero on a memorial Facebook page created in his honor.

Landsberry, who served several tours in Afghanistan as a member of the Nevada Air National Guard, was killed while trying to get the shooter to put down his gun.

One boy told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he saw a student shoot the teacher. “The student fired a shot at the teacher, and the teacher fell, and everybody ran away,” the student told the newspaper.

Landsberry’s brother told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ that he wasn’t surprised by his brother’s actions and that he was probably trying to “talk the kid down and protect whoever he could. That sounds like Mike,” Reggie Landsberry said.

“He was the kind of person that if someone needed help he would be there,” Reggie Landsberry said. “He loved teaching. He loved the kids. He loved coaching them. … He was just a good all-around individual.”


“Mr. Landsberry, known as Batman, marine, husband, dad, teacher and HERO.” wrote Sweetie Orozco on Landsberry’s memorial Facebook page.

Mike Landsberry posted pictures of himself on the school website with a message to students, CNN reported.

“One of my goals is to earn your respect while you earn mine,” the message read. “I believe that with mutual respect that the classroom environment will run smoothly.”

“It’s very unfortunate that (the life of) someone like that, who protected our country over there and came back alive … had to be taken at his work, at a school,” Sparks Mayor Geno Martini told CNN.  “It’s very devastating.”

Thousands of people were responding to Landsberry’s actions on a memorial Facebook page created in his honor.

“He gave other children time to run when he courageously tried to stop the shooter, thank you for being a hero RIP TO SPARKS HERO MR. LANDSBERRY,” one woman wrote on a the memorial page.

Another woman wrote, “A true American hero! May he rest in peace.”

And from a fellow teacher, “I have never been prouder to be a teacher. Thanks and RIP Michael Landsberry.”