SPARKS, Nev. — A student at a Nevada middle school opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two 12-year-old boys and killing a math teacher who was trying to protect children from their classmate.
The unidentified shooter killed himself with the gun in front of 20 to 30 horrified students who had just returned to school from a weeklong fall break. Authorities did not provide a motive for the shooting, and it was unknown where the student got the gun.
Teacher Michael Landsberry was being hailed for his actions outside Sparks Middle School during the shooting.
"In my estimation, he is a hero. … We do know he was trying to intervene," Reno Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said.
Robinson said it was too early to say whether the shooter was targeting people or going on an indiscriminate shooting rampage.
Both of the wounded students were listed in stable condition. One was shot in the shoulder, and the other was hit in the abdomen.
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.
Landsberry, 45, was a military veteran and leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said Landsberry served two tours in Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard.
"He proudly served his country and was proudly defending the students at his school," Martini said.
Police said 150 to 200 officers responded to the shooting, including some from as far as 60 miles away. About 700 seventh- and eighth-graders are enrolled at the school.