SPARKS, Nev. — A student at a Nevada middle 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 said.
Twenty to 30 students witnessed the tragedy at Sparks Middle School that also left the lone suspected gunman dead, police said.
It's unclear whether the student committed suicide, but authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement. Police said between 150 and 200 officers, including some from as far as 60 miles away, responded to the shooting.
"In my estimation, he is a hero . . . we do know he was trying to intervene," Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said of the teacher who was killed, who initially was identified only as a staff member.
Family members identified him as math teacher Michael Landsberry, a 45-year-old military veteran who leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters
"To hear that he was trying to stop that is not surprising by any means," said his sister-in-law Chanda Landsberry. She added his life could be summed up by his love of family, his students and his country.
On his school website, Michael 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," Chanda Landsberry said.
The names of the suspect and two other victims have not yet been released, and the motive for the shooting is still unknown.
"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."
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.
At the evacuation center, parents comforted their children.
"We came flying down here to get our kids," said Mike Fiorica, whose nephew attends the school. ". . . It's really chaotic. You can imagine how parents are feeling. You don't know if your kid's OK."
One of the students injured in the violence that erupted around 7:15 a.m. is out of surgery and the other is doing well, according to police.