Middle School in Nevada. The student who opened fire fatally turned
the gun on himself, police said.
student opened fire at a Nevada middle school Monday morning before
the shooter fatally turned the gun on himself, police said. Law
enforcement officials secured the area around Sparks Middle School
where the shooting took place without firing any shots.
The two injured in the shooting were taken to Renown Regional Medical
Center in nearby Reno, Nev. One of the individuals is already out of
surgery, and the other is doing well, according to media reports.
The teacher — eighth-grade math teacher Michael Landsberry, according
to media reports — was shot and killed while trying to protect
Students and staff at Sparks Middle School and nearby Risley
Elementary School — which are both in Sparks, Nev. — were evacuated to
Sparks High School. Both the middle and elementary schools will be
closed Monday, said Charles Rahn, Washoe County School District
“We came flying down here to get our kids,” Mike Fiorica, whose nephew
attends the middle school, told the Associated Press. “It’s really
chaotic. You can imagine how parents are feeling. You don’t know if
your kid’s OK.”
Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said 150 to 200 personnel
secured the school and the surrounding area after the shooting was
reported at 7:15 a.m. Pacific time, according to the Reno
Kyle Nucum, a student at Sparks Middle School, thought the shooting
was a firecracker when he first heard a loud popping noise.
“Then the student fired a shot at the teacher, and the teacher fell
and everybody ran away, and we ran across the field to get somewhere
safe,” Kyle said during an interview published on the Gazette-Journal
website. “While we were running, we heard about four or five more
shots,” Kyle said. He escaped the chaos inside a nearby home.
Michelle Hernandez, another student at the middle school, said she saw
the shooter on Monday morning, the Gazette-Journal reported. “I heard
him saying, ‘Why you people making fun of me, why you laughing at
me?’” she said.
The Gazette-Journal also spoke with Seth Hinchberger, an eighth-grader
at Sparks Middle School, who said the shooter “pulled out a weapon and
just shot it. And scared all of us, and we just started running.”
The students then ran into a hall, Seth said. “We piled up and put the
girls in the back and the guys in the front… for the safety of the
girls,” he said. “He came over to us and started aiming at all of
us…. Then he saw a teacher in the window and shot the window trying
to get him. Shot the window twice.”
Mr. Robinson told parents they can now rest assured. “The schools are
safe. The rest of the city is safe,” he said.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) extended his thoughts and prayers to
those affected. “I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific
shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning. My administration is
receiving regular updates and the Nevada Highway Patrol is assisting
at the scene,” he said in a statement.
Sen. Harry Reid (D) of Nevada also issued a letter of comfort to those affected.
“My condolences go out to the victims’ families and my thoughts are
with the teachers, administrators, parents and students at Sparks
Middle School who have experienced a traumatic morning. No words of
condolence could possibly ease the pain, but I hope it is some small
comfort that Nevada mourns with them. I stand by to be of any
assistance if there is anything that can be done and I will continue
to monitor the situation,” the statement read.
The violence in Sparks erupted nearly a year after a gunman opened
fire on students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Newtown, Conn., killing 20 students and six adults. The Dec. 14
shooting sparked a nationwide gun-control debate.
In 2006, a 14-year-old boy opened fire in Pine Middle School in Reno.
No one was killed, although two students were injured, according to
the Gazette-Journal. The shooter had researched the 1999 Columbine
High School shooting rampage a week before he opened fire on his
classmates, the paper reported.
The Pine Middle School shooter was tried as a juvenile and was
sentenced to house arrest.
Sparks is located in the western part of the state near the California
border, just east of Reno.