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News Story
Updated: 10/22/2013 01:19:01AM

Nev. student opens fire, kills teacher and himself

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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 with family members after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. 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 and her mother walk near Agnes Risley Elementary School, after students were evacuated to the school after a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nev. 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 with family members after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nev. 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)

Swat team members secure the scene near Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting there on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Swat team members secure the scene near Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting there on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Swat team members secure the scene near Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting there on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Bianca Flores is comforted by her sisters following the shooting that left two dead, including the shooter, at Sparks Middle School 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

Jorge Martinez, 13, right, cries in his mother Norma's arms following the shooting that left two dead, including the shooter, at Sparks Middle School 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 unidentified woman holds her son after picking him up at Sparks high school were some students where taken after a shooting that left two dead at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21, 2013. Police said that two dead are a teacher and shooter. (AP Photo/Reno Gazette-Journal, Andy Barron) NO SALES; NEVADA APPEAL OUT; SOUTH RENO WEEKLY OUT

Police are staged in front of Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev. on Monday, Oct. 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

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

Parents wait for officials to release their children from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 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 wait for officials to release their children from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 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 wait for officials to release their children from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 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 wait for officials to release their children from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 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 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

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

File- Thgis Oct. 17, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Obama's signature legislation. However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it's unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

File- Thgis Oct. 17, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Obama's signature legislation. However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it's unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

File- Thgis Oct. 17, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Obama's signature legislation. However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it's unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

File- Thgis Oct. 17, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Obama's signature legislation. However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it's unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

In this photo provided by Jerry Davis, police gather near Sparks Middle School after a shooting at the school, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Reno, Nev. A student at the school opened fire on campus, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, police said Monday. The suspected gunman is also dead, and authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement. (AP Photo/Jerry Davis)

In this photo provided by Jerry Davis, police gather near Sparks Middle School after a shooting at the school, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Reno, Nev. A student at the school opened fire on campus, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, police said Monday. The suspected gunman is also dead, and authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement. (AP Photo/Jerry Davis)

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 wait for officials to release their children from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting at Sparks Middle School on Monday, Oct. 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 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

In this photo provided by Jerry Davis, police gather near Sparks Middle School after a shooting at the school, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Reno, Nev. A student at the school opened fire on campus, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children, police said Monday. The suspected gunman is also dead, and authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement. (AP Photo/Jerry Davis)

By SCOTT SONNER

Associated Press

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SPARKS, Nev. — A student at a Nevada middle school opened fire with a semi-automatic 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 after a rampage that occurred 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’s 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 Police Chief Tom Robinson said.

Both 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.

On his school website, Landsberry posted a picture of a brown bear and took on a tough-love tone, telling students, “I have one classroom rule and it is very simple: ‘Thou Shall Not Annoy Mr. L.’”

“The kids loved him,” his sister-in-law Chanda Landsberry said.

She added his life could be summed up by his love of his family, his students and his country.

“To hear that he was trying to stop that is not surprising by any means,” she said.

Police said 150 to 200 officers responded to the shooting, including some from as far as 60 miles away. Students from the middle school and neighboring elementary school were evacuated to the nearby high school, and classes were canceled. The middle school will remain closed for the week.

“As you can imagine, the best description is chaos,” Robinson said. “It’s too early to say whether he was targeting people or going on an indiscriminate shooting spree.”

At the evacuation center, parents comforted their children.

“We came aflying down here to get our kids,” said Mike Fiorica, whose nephew attends the school. “You can imagine how parents are feeling. You don’t know if your kid’s OK.”

The shooting happened on the school’s campus and ended outside the school building, according to police.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement extending his thoughts and prayers to those affected.

About 700 students in 7th and 8th grades are enrolled at the school, in a working class neighborhood.

“It’s not supposed to happen here,” Chanda Landsberry said. “We’re just Sparks — little Sparks, Nevada. It’s unreal.”

A statement from Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the Connecticut shooting, appeared on the website of gun control advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise. “It’s moments like this that demand that we unite as parents to find commonsense solutions that keep our children — all children — safe, and prevent these tragedies from happening again and again,” the statement said.

The Washoe County School District held a session in the spring in light of the Newtown tragedy to educate parents on its safety measures. The district has its own 38-officer police department. No officers were on campus at the time of the shooting.

Sparks, a city of roughly 90,000 that sprung out of the railway industry, is just east of Reno.

——

Associated Press writer Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas and news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.


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