Two people are dead after a shooting occurred Monday morning at Sparks Middle School. Two other boys were left in critical condition and are being treated at a local hospital. Sparks Middle School is located in a small town just east of Reno, Nevada.
The best description for Monday morning at this Nevada middle school is chaotic according to Reno Police deputy chief, Tom Robinson. He says it’s still unclear whether the student-turned-gunman was aiming at specific people or just on a random shooting spree.
One witness, 13-year-old Kyle Nucum, said while he was out on the basketball court he saw the boy shoot at one of the teachers. He said the shooter had on a uniform for Sparks Middle School. He described the incident and said the student had the gun aimed at a teacher and the teacher was telling him to put it down. Suddenly the student pulled the trigger and shot the teacher. Everybody started running as the teacher fell to the ground.
Nucum said he heard four to five additional shots as he and other students were running across a field. He said a woman allowed them to enter her house to escape the sound of gunshots.
Michelle Hernandez, fellow student, said she saw the gunman that morning and overheard him saying, “Why are you people making fun of me, why are you laughing at me?” Hernandez said didn’t know who he was speaking of.
Local authorities asked parents not to go to the school but to pick up their children at nearby high school.
Charles Rahn, spokesman for Washoe County School District, said that Sparks middle and the neighboring school, Agnes Risley Elementary School, had both been evacuated and would be closed the remainder of the day.
A statement was released from Gov. Brian Sandoval after hearing about the shooting. Sandoval said he is deeply saddened to learn of the shooting which he called horrific. He said Nevada Highway Patrol was assisting and his administration is receiving continuous updates about the incident. He also extended his prayers and thoughts to the affected families.
Superintendent of the Washoe County School District, Pedro Matinez, said that this is just a very sad and tragic day for all of them.
Geno Martini, Mayor of the city, during a press conference praised the emergency response. He said despite the tragic scene Monday morning his city is still very safe. He called the incident an isolated, but very tragic, one and said he was sad that he had to be there.
According to law enforcement the shooting took place on the school’s grounds but not inside the actual building. The shooting took place about 7:15 a.m. while the buses were still dropping off students.
Police believe the teacher was killed while trying to protect students and have deemed him a hero. According to Robinson, they still have people to talk to and video to review but they know the teacher was trying to intercede.
The gunman has been confirmed killed along with a staff member according to police. The two victims which arrived at the hospital in critical condition are described as two male minors. One is doing better and the other one underwent surgery.
Currently, the situation has been neutralized and the campus has been cleared. The motive for the shooting is still uncertain.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)