SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - A student at a Nevada middle school opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a math teacher who was trying to protect children from their gun-wielding classmate.
Teacher Michael Landsberry was being hailed for his actions outside Sparks Middle School, where 20 to 30 horrified students witnessed the shooting as they returned to classes from a weeklong fall break.
"In my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene," Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said.
The unidentified shooter was killed along with Landsberry, a 45-year-old military veteran who leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters. The motive for the shooting is still unknown. One of the wounded students is out of surgery and the other is doing well, police said.
It's unclear whether the student committed suicide, but authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement. Police said between 150 and 200 officers, including some from as far as 60 miles away, responded to the shooting.
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.
On his school website, Landsberry posted a picture of a brown bear and took on a tough-love tone, telling students, "I have one classroom rule and it is very simple: 'Thou Shall Not Annoy Mr. L.'"
"The kids loved him," said his sister-in-law Chanda Landsberry.
She added his life could be summed up by his love of his family, students and country.
"To hear that he was trying to stop that is not surprising by any means," she said.
Students from the middle school and neighboring elementary school were evacuated to the nearby high school, and classes were canceled. The middle school will remain closed for the week.
"As you can imagine, the best description is chaos," Robinson said. "It's too early to say whether he was targeting people or going on an indiscriminate shooting spree."
At the evacuation center, parents comforted their children.
"We came flying down here to get our kids," said Mike Fiorica, whose nephew attends the school. "It's really chaotic. You can imagine how parents are feeling. You don't know if your kid's OK."
The shooting happened on the school's campus and ended outside the school building itself, according to police.
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning," Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement extending his thoughts and prayers to those affected.
About 700 students in 7th and 8th grades are enrolled at the school, located in a working class neighborhood.
"It's not supposed to happen here," Chanda Landsberry said. "We're just Sparks - little Sparks, Nev. It's unreal."
In a statement on the website of Sandy Hook Promise, a gun control advocacy group, Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the shooting said, "It's moments like this that demand that we unite as parents to find commonsense solutions that keep our children - all children - safe, and prevent these tragedies from happening again and again."
The Washoe County School District held a session in the spring in light of the Connecticut tragedy to educate parents on what safety measures the district takes.
Sparks, a city of roughly 90,000 that sprung out of the railway industry, lies just east of Reno.
Mayor Geno Martini spoke at a morning press conference to assure residents that the community was safe.
"It's a tragic day in the city of Sparks," he said. "This is just an isolated incident."
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) -- Family members have identified a math teacher as the staff member who was killed while trying to stop a shooter at a northern Nevada middle school.
Chanda Landsberry says her 45-year-old brother-in-law, Michael Landsberry, died in the Monday morning shooting at Sparks Middle School.
The suspected gunman is a student who has died. Two other boys were injured.
Students from the middle school and an elementary school next door were evacuated to a nearby high school, and classes were canceled.
Chanda Landsberry says she's not surprised at all that her brother-in-law stepped in to stop the rampage.
Michael Landsberry is a military veteran who leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters.
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) -- Police say it was a student who opened fire at a Nevada middle school today, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children.
The suspected gunman also is dead, but authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement, though more than 150 officers responded.
The shooting erupted outside Sparks Middle School shortly before classes began this morning. Two other students were critically injured in the incident. They were both taken to a nearby hospital, where one is out of surgery. Police say the other as doing well.
Students from the middle school and next door elementary school were evacuated to the nearby high school, and classes were canceled. At the evacuation center, parents walked with their arms around their children, some of whom were in tears.
The city of Sparks lies just east of Reno.
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - Police in Nevada say the two people killed in a school shooting were a staff member and a student who was likely the attacker.
Two other students were critically injured in the violence that erupted before classes began Monday. Authorities said the staff member was trying to intervene.
Students from the middle school and next door elementary school were evacuated to the nearby high school, and classes were canceled.
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) -- Police say two people are dead and two more are injured in a shooting at Sparks Middle School in northern Nevada Monday morning.
Washoe County School District Police didn't immediately offer details of the identities of the dead. They said the school is "all clear" and the suspect is "down," but offered no further details.
Spokeswoman Angela Rambo of Renown Regional Medical Center says two boys are in critical condition.
Washoe County School District spokesman Charles Rahn says the middle school and next door Agnes Risley Elementary School have been evacuated to Sparks High School. Rahn said the middle and elementary schools will be closed Monday.
Sparks is a city just east of Reno.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.