Nev. school shooting leaves teacher dead

He tries to intervene as boy wounds two students, kills himself

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SPARKS, Nev. -- Family members of a teacher shot and killed Monday by a student at Sparks Middle School said it did not surprise them that he had tried to stop the attack.

"It doesn't surprise anybody that that's what Michael would do," said Chanda Landsberry, referring to her brother-in-law, Michael Landsberry, who taught eighth-grade math at the school.

"It doesn't feel real," Ms. Landsberry said of her brother-in-law's death. "It's totally surreal to have it happen."

According to police and witnesses, a student at the school -- wearing khakis, part of the Sparks Middle School uniform -- opened fire shortly after 7 a.m., leaving Mr. Landsberry dead and two students wounded. The shooter, who has not been identified, apparently then took his own life, police said.

Sparks police Sgt. Greta Woyciehowsky said the first 911 calls came about 7:15 a.m., about 15 minutes before classes began. The middle school is bustling at that time, she said, with parents dropping off children and buses unloading students, as everyone crowds through the school's lone entrance and exit for students.

The school is one of three middle schools in the Sparks Police Department's jurisdiction, Sgt. Woyciehowsky said. A fourth middle school is under the jurisdiction of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department, she said. Sparks, about 4 miles east of Reno, has about 90,000 residents.

The scene Monday morning was chaotic as emergency crews responded.

Elizabeth Alvarez, 33, who lives in an apartment nearby, said she "heard a lot of sirens, and the streets were full of police." Watching the news 25 minutes later, she heard early reports of what had happened, and that middle school students had been evacuated to Agnes Risley Elementary School nearby. She went there to pick up her 13-year-old nephew, Juan Basurto, an eighth-grader who was walking to school at the time of the shooting. She found him in the cafeteria, along with other middle school students.

Ms. Alvarez said the children were not crying, but were scared, including her nephew. "He was frightened," she said, speaking in Spanish. "He said a boy had shot a teacher and two other kids."

Ms. Alvarez dropped off her nephew at his home, then returned to her apartment, where her two daughters, a fifth-grader and first-grader, were because school had been canceled following the shooting. She said she witnessed parents running down the street in front of the middle school, because police had blocked off access to vehicles.

Hours later, the streets were quiet, but there was still a heavy police presence, and traffic was limited in front of the school.

Sparks Middle School caters to seventh- and eighth-graders, and students are between 12 and 14 years old. "We have 20 to 30 student witnesses," Sgt. Woyciehowsky said, adding that no other students were believed to be involved in the attack.

On Monday, Mr. Landsberry's personal website still featured what he called his one classroom rule:

"You are asking yourself what annoys me; it depends on any given day. Just like you, I have good days and bad days. What may bother me one day may not the next. A very good skill to learn is reading people and their moods. ... One of my goals is to earn your respect while you earn mine. I believe that with mutual respect that the classroom environment will run smoothly."


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