A student opening fire with a handgun he took from his parents. Screaming students running for cover. A teacher, trying to help, shot dead. Two students wounded.
As authorities investigated, details were still trickling out hours after a deadly shooting Monday at a Nevada middle school.
An official used one word to describe the scene at Sparks Middle School: chaos.
The shooter took a handgun from his parents, a federal law enforcement source who was briefed on the situation told CNN’s Evan Perez.
The gunman shot and killed himself, Sparks Deputy Chief Tom Miller said Monday evening at a news conference.
Authorities said the shooter’s motive was unclear.
“It’s too early to say whether he was targeting specific people or just going on an indiscriminate shooting spree,” said Tom Robinson, deputy chief of the Reno Police Department.
Mike Landsberry, a math teacher at the school, was killed in the shooting, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini told CNN.
In addition to his work as a teacher, Landsberry also had served in the Marines and served several tours in Afghanistan as a member of the Nevada Air National Guard, his brother, Reggie, told “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“He was the kind of person that if someone needed help he would be there,” Reggie Landsberry said. “He loved teaching. He loved the kids. He loved coaching them. … He was just a good all-around individual.”
Reggie Landsberry said his brother was probably trying to “talk the kid down and protect whoever he could. That sounds like Mike.”
One 13-year-old witness told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he saw a student in a school uniform open fire as the teacher tried to get him to put the gun down.
“The student fired a shot at the teacher, and the teacher fell, and everybody ran away,” the student said.
The witness told the newspaper that he heard four or five shots as he ran for cover, hiding out with several others in a house nearby.
Authorities released few details about the incident. “Law enforcement assures that the school and community are secured at this time,” a city statement said.
City officials said authorities received emergency calls from students and staff at the school about 7:15 a.m. about an active shooter on campus.
Authorities said students were being taken to a nearby high school to meet their parents. School was canceled for the week at Sparks Middle School and for the day at nearby Agnes Risley Elementary, officials said.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “My administration is receiving regular updates and the Nevada Highway Patrol is assisting at the scene. Kathleen and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and those affected by these tragic events.”
The shooting comes months after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, igniting nationwide debate over gun violence and school safety.
The mother of a student killed in December’s shooting in Newtown said Monday’s shooting was reminder of the need to find solutions to keep students safe.
“The unthinkable has happened yet again, this time in Sparks, Nevada,” Nicole Hockley said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the children of Sparks Middle School, who today came face to face with violence that no child should ever experience. It’s moments like this that demand that we unite as parents to find common sense solutions that keep our children — all children — safe, and prevent these tragedies from happening again and again.”
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