A Nevada middle school student shot and killed a math teacher on Monday, then fatally shot himself in front of children who were gathering for class at the beginning of the school day, the authorities said.
The teacher was killed while trying to protect other students from the armed boy, the authorities said. The Associated Press reported that the teacher was identified as Michael Landsberry by his sister-in-law, Chandra Landsberry. She said he was a military veteran with a wife and two stepdaughters.
The boy, whose name and age have not been released, also wounded two other students during the attack, but hospital officials said their injuries were not life-threatening. On Monday afternoon, one of the students was listed in serious condition and the other was in fair condition, hospital officials said.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the shooting, which occurred at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., about 7:15 a.m., just before the start of school, said Tom Robinson, deputy chief of the Reno Police Department. Sparks, a city of 90,000 people, is just east of Reno. Students were returning Monday from a weeklong fall break.
“As you can imagine, the best description is chaos,” Robinson said several hours after the attack. “It’s too early to say whether he was targeting people or going on an indiscriminate shooting spree.”
He said of the teacher: “In my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene.”
After the shooting, the Sparks Police Department posted a message on its website that read: “Stay away from Sparks Middle School 2275 18th St. We believe the suspect has been neutralized.” The note was later removed.
Sparks Middle School has an enrollment of 630 seventh- and eighth-grade students, according to its website. Classes have been canceled for the rest of the week.
Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting” and that the Nevada Highway Patrol was assisting the local authorities. In a statement, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., called it “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,” he said.
A note on the school’s website said that all middle schools in Washoe County had implemented a “safe zones” policy, which permits any student who “feels threatened, bullied, or the recipient of acts of violence” to go to a designated classroom staffed by a teacher. The website said the county policy was adopted “due to the increase in gang activity, bullying, violence to students by other students, and lack of knowledge by the middle school student population” about how to get help.