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News Story
Updated: 10/23/2013 01:19:00AM

School shooter brought gun from home

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A unidentified parent holds his son, who was crying, at Sparks high school where some student were taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT MBO

A unidentified parent holds his son, who was crying, at Sparks high school where some student were taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT MBO

A unidentified parent holds his son, who was crying, at Sparks high school where some student were taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT MBO

A unidentified parent holds his son, who was crying, at Sparks high school where some student were taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT MBO

A unidentified parent holds his son, who was crying, at Sparks high school where some student were taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT MBO

This undated photo provided by Chandra Landsberry shows Sharon and Michael Landsberry. Police said Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, the student who wounded two classmates and killed Michael Landsberry and then himself on a Nevada middle school campus in Sparks, Nev., was 12 years old. Police also lauded the actions of Landsberry, a 45-year-old math teacher and former Marine, who they say tried to stop the rampage before he was fatally shot in the chest. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Chandra Landsberry via The Reno Gazette-Journal) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

This undated photo provided by Chandra Landsberry shows Sharon and Michael Landsberry. Police said Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, the student who wounded two classmates and killed Michael Landsberry and then himself on a Nevada middle school campus in Sparks, Nev., was 12 years old. Police also lauded the actions of Landsberry, a 45-year-old math teacher and former Marine, who they say tried to stop the rampage before he was fatally shot in the chest. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Chandra Landsberry via The Reno Gazette-Journal) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

This undated photo released by the Nevada Air National Guard shows Sparks Middle school math teacher and former Marine Michael Landsberry, 45. Authorities say the student who opened fire on a the Nevada middle school campus, wounding two students and killing Landsberry, got the weapon from his home. Washoe County School District Police said they are still working to trace where the gun was bought. Police said a Sparks Middle School student was the lone shooter and turned the weapon on himself. (AP Photo/Nevada Air National Guard)

Community members gather to pay their respects to Michael Landsberry, a 45-year-old eighth-grade math teacher, soccer coach and former Marine who was killed by an eighth-grader at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. The 12-year-old student who opened fire on the middle school campus, wounding two classmates and killing Landsberry, before he turned the gun on himself, got the weapon from his home, authorities said Tuesday. School District police said they are still working to determine how the boy obtained the 9mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun used in the Monday morning spree at Sparks Middle School. The boy's parents are cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case, police said. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT

Children and a parents take a photo of a memorial with candles at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. The 12-year-old student who opened fire on the middle school campus, wounding two classmates and killing a teacher before he turned the gun on himself, got the weapon from his home, authorities said Tuesday. School District police said they are still working to determine how the boy obtained the 9mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun used in the Monday morning spree at Sparks Middle School. The boy's parents are cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case, police said. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT

Sparks Mayor Geno Martini addresses reporters during a news briefing Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, at Sparks police headquarters with the latest information about a Sparks Middle School 7th grader who shot two students and killed a teacher before shooting himself in the head the day before with a semi-automatic handgun police believe he obtained from his residence. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

Sparks deputy police chief Tom Miller comments during a press conference in Sparks, Nev., Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, about Monday's shooting at Sparks Middle School. He said his department will not release 12-year-old alleged shooter's name out of respect for his family. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT (REV-SHARE) (ONLN OUT; IONLN OUT - MBI)

Sparks deputy police chief Tom Miller speaks at a news conference Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Miller said his department will not release the name of the 12-year-old gunman in Monday's shootings at Sparks Middle School out of respect for his family. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT

A Sparks Middle School student, back to camera, cries with family members after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School Monday Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks Nev., after a shooting at Sparks Middle School. A student at the Sparks Middle School opened fire on campus, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, police said Monday. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student, back to camera, cries with family members after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School Monday Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks Nev., after a shooting at Sparks Middle School. A student at the Sparks Middle School opened fire on campus, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, police said Monday. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Law enforcement personnel gather at the scene of a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. A student at the school opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a teacher who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police and the victim's family members said. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Marilyn Newton) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

Law enforcement personnel gather at the scene of a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. A student at the school opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a teacher who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police and the victim's family members said. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Marilyn Newton) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

Law enforcement personnel gather at the scene of a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. A student at the school opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a teacher who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police and the victim's family members said. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Marilyn Newton) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

Law enforcement personnel gather at the scene of a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. A student at the school opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a teacher who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police and the victim's family members said. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Marilyn Newton) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

Parents pick up their children at Sparks high school, were students where taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that the two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

Children and a parents take a photo of a memorial with candles at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. The 12-year-old student who opened fire on the middle school campus, wounding two classmates and killing a teacher before he turned the gun on himself, got the weapon from his home, authorities said Tuesday. School District police said they are still working to determine how the boy obtained the 9mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun used in the Monday morning spree at Sparks Middle School. The boy's parents are cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case, police said. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT

Law enforcement personnel gather at the scene of a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. A student at the school opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a teacher who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police and the victim's family members said. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Marilyn Newton) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

A Sparks Middle School student cries and is comforted after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at SMS in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. A middle school student opened fire on campus just before the starting bell Monday, wounding two boys and killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, Sparks police said Monday. The lone suspected gunman was also dead, though it's unclear whether the student committed suicide. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Parents pick up their children at Sparks high school, were students where taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. Police said that the two dead are a teacher and the shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

By SCOTT SONNER and MICHELLE RINDELS

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SPARKS, Nev. — Students cowered in fear and pleaded for their lives as a 12-year-old Nevada boy went on a schoolyard rampage with a handgun he brought from home, waving the weapon at frightened classmates and shooting a math teacher in the chest on a basketball court.

The boy opened fire Monday morning on the Sparks Middle School campus, wounding two boys and killing the teacher before he turned the gun on himself.

Washoe County School District police revealed Tuesday that the seventh-grader brought the 9 mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun from his home, but authorities were still working to determine how he obtained it. The student’s parents were cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case, police said.

Eighth-grader Angelo Ferro recalled burying his face in his hands as the boy waved the gun and threatened to shoot. Another seventh-grader and Ferro’s math teacher, Michael Landsberry, lay gunned down nearby.

“The whole time I was hoping Mr. L was OK, we’d all get through it, it was a bad dream,” Ferro told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Ferro, 13, was in the schoolyard with friends when the violence erupted.

He heard a pop about 15 minutes before the morning bell rang but didn’t think much of it. He then saw an injured boy clutching his wounded arm, and he watched Landsberry walk toward the gunman and take a bullet to the chest.

Unable to get inside the locked-down school, Ferro and others crouched against the building for safety but soon came face-to-face with the armed student.

Ferro didn’t know the boy but said he and other frightened classmates begged for their lives and tried to talk him out of firing. Something distracted the student, and he didn’t shoot. “He left, thank God,” Ferro said.

A series of 911 calls made from the school also reflected the terror of the situation, including an ominous report of “teacher down.”

“Can you send please send police out here,” a panicked student told a 911 dispatcher. “There’s a kid with a gun.”

Authorities say they’re withholding the shooter’s name out of respect for his family. They provided no motive for the shooting but said they’ve interviewed 20 or 30 witnesses and are looking into any prior connections between the victims and the shooter.

“Everybody wants to know why — that’s the big question. The answer is, we don’t know right now,” Sparks Deputy Police Chief Tom Miller said. Sparks is just east of Reno and has a population of roughly 90,000.

Also Tuesday, law enforcement and school officials again lauded the actions of Landsberry, a 45-year-old former Marine who tried to stop the rampage before he was killed.

“I cannot express enough appreciation for Mr. Landsberry,” Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez said at a news conference. “He truly is a hero.”

Students said they saw Landsberry walk calmly toward the shooter and ask him to hand over his weapon before he was gunned down. Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras said Landsberry’s actions gave some students enough time to run to safety.

Police said they believe the shooter at one point tried to enter the school but couldn’t open the door because of emergency lockdown procedures.

After killing Landsberry, the boy fired at a second student, hitting him in the abdomen. He then shot himself in the head.

The two 12-year-old boys who were wounded are in stable condition and recovering.

Students from the middle school and neighboring elementary school were evacuated to a high school after the shooting, and all classes were canceled. The middle school will remain closed for the week, while an adjacent elementary school is set to reopen Wednesday.

Landsberry coached several youth sports. He also served two tours in Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard and was well-known in the school community, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said. Landsberry served in the Marine Corps from 1986 to 1990 and was stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Okinawa, Japan, according to military records.

Senior Master Sgt. Robert Garrett attended middle school with Landsberry in Reno before serving as his supervisor in recent years at the Nevada Air National Guard.

“Every one of the people I have talked to just knew that Mike was in there,” Garrett said. “He was the guy that would have jumped in there to stop the bullets from hitting other kids. And sure enough, it was.”

———

Rindels reported from Las Vegas. Associated Press news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this report.


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