12-year-old US student shoots teacher dead, wounds 2 before killing self

2013-10-22 08:37

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Sparks – A 12-year-old student armed with a semi-automatic handgun has shot and killed a math teacher and critically wounded two classmates before killing himself at his Nevada middle school.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene at the school in the northwestern Nevada town of Sparks, just east of Reno near the California border, after the gunfire erupted outside classrooms as students were arriving for the school day.

“A kid started getting mad and he pulled out a gun and shoots my friend, one of my friends at least,” a seventh-grade student identified as Andrew Thompson told local television station KOLO.

“And then he walked up to a teacher and says back up. The teacher started backing up and he pulled the trigger.”

“The teacher was just lying there and he was limp,” he told KOLO.

“And me and five other friends went to him and said come on we’ve got to get him to safety. We picked him up, carried him a little bit far and we left him because our vice principal came along and said go, go, go get to safety, get to safety. So we left the teacher there and we went to safety.”

The incident marked the latest in a string of shooting rampages across the United States in recent years, including a shooting last December at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 20 students and six adults and helped reignite a national debate over gun control.

The slain educator at Sparks Middle School was identified by his family as 45-year-old math teacher Michael Landsberry.

Authorities declined to identify the two wounded students, both age 12, who acting Sparks Police Chief Tom Miller said were rushed to a Reno hospital where one had emergency surgery.

One of the boys sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder and the other was hit in the abdomen, he said, and were listed in stable condition yesterday afternoon.

Family members of Landsberry, a former Marine who was also a member of the Nevada Air National Guard, described him as a hero who tried to persuade the young gunman to drop his weapon.

“(He was) probably trying to stop that kid from hurting himself or anyone else,” his sister-in-law Chanda Landsberry told Reuters.

A 13-year-old eighth grader, Kyle Nucum, told the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper he heard about half a dozen shots. Student Michelle Hernandez said she had seen the suspect before the shooting began.

“I heard him saying, ‘Why you people making fun of me, why you laughing at me,’” Hernandez told the paper.

The 12-year-old shooter was not identified by authorities.

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