SPARKS, NV (RNN) - Officials with the police department had no answers Tuesday on why a student walked into Sparks Middle School with a gun, killed a teacher, shot two others and turned the gun on himself.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School, was shot and killed. The Associated Press reports Landsberry was an eighth-grade math teacher and served two tours in Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard. He left behind a wife and two stepdaughters.
"He loved teaching at Sparks Middle School. He loved the kids. He loved coaching them. He loved teaching them. He was just a good-all-around individual," said Reggie Landsberry to CNN, brother to Michael Landsberry.
"During the incident, after the first student was shot, Mr. Landsberry calmly walked toward the shooter, putting his hands up in a motion to try to stop the individuals actions," said Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras.
A 13-year-old student told the Reno Gazette-Journal, "The student was pointing a gun at the teacher after the teacher told him to put it down, and the student fired a shot at the teacher, and the teacher fell, and everybody ran away."
Mieras would not comment on the eyewitness account because of the ongoing investigation.
"We're interviewing many, many kids. We're in that process right now," Mieras said.
Mieras said Landsberry had been a staff member at Sparks since 2006. In addition to his role as math teacher, he served as the boys basketball team coach, the girls volleyball coach at the middle school, as well as the girls soccer coach at Sparks High School.
"Everybody wants to know why," said Sparks Deputy Police Chief Tom Miller. "That's the big question, the answer is - we don't know right now. But we are proactively trying to determine why."
Law enforcement will not release the identity of the shooter, who is 12 years old, and took his own life. Police said he was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.
Police also have yet to clarify if the shooter was targeting someone in particular or wanted to open fire and injure as many as possible.
One student was struck in the shoulder and is stable condition. The other student was shot in the abdomen and required surgery.
A vigil was held for the victims on Monday night.
Miller gave a basic rundown of the incident. He said the student arrived on school grounds shortly before 7:15 a.m. MT and shot a student in the shoulder near the north hallway of the school.
The shooter then proceeded southbound and encountered a teacher, Landsberry, on the basketball court. The two walked toward each other, and the student shot the teacher, fatally wounding him in the chest.
Next, he continued southbound, shot a second student in the abdomen, turned around, walked northbound and shot himself.
The weapon used was a Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. Miller said they believed the student got it from his residence. The Associated Press reports law enforcement did not fire any shots.
Students were evacuated to nearby Agnes Risley Elementary School, where parents picked them up.
"We have a lot of heroes today, including our children who, even though school hadn't started, when teachers came out, they listened to them," said Superintendent Pedro Martinez.
School has been canceled for the remainder of the week at the middle school and the nearby elementary school.
"We'll have to mourn together and we'll have to heal together," Martinez said.
Nicole Hockley with the Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit group created by members of Newton, CT, released a statement after the shooting in Sparks.
"The unthinkable has happened yet again, this time in Sparks, Nevada. 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."
Hockley's son, 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Sparks, with a population of 90,000, is located east of Reno, NV, is 135 miles from Sacramento, CA and 448 miles from Las Vegas. Sparks Middle School has about 700 enrolled students.
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