SPARKS, NV - KOLO 8 News Now has exclusive information about the background of the 12-year-old who opened fire at Sparks Middle School October 21.
There was at least one incident of child abuse, in 2012. A reading of the court documents gives no definitive answers concerning the shooting at Sparks Middle School nearly two years later. It does raise intriguing questions.
January 30, 2012: Ten-year-old Jose Reyes is living with his mother and father in an apartment complex two blocks from Sparks Middle School. His father, Jose Reyes Mandujano, was trying to teach him how to count money.
According to court documents, the boy becomes frustrated and upset over not understanding. That brings a retort from his father: "you don't have to be a crybaby."
Stung by the remark, the boy leaves, then storms into his father's room, hitting him.
By the father's own account, "he lost control of himself," hitting his son in the face two or three times with open hand and backhand, leaving him with a black eye.
Jose Reyes Mandujano is arrested, charged with felony child abuse and domestic battery, a misdemeanor.
He has no criminal record and apparently is cooperative with the court.
In May, a plea agreement results in a guilty plea to one count of child abuse, neglect or endangerment--a misdemeanor. He pays $500 in fees and fines and is sentenced to complete courses in anger management and parenting at this counseling service in Sparks.
He completes both courses the next month.
Sixteen months later, Jose Reyes, now 12, takes a 9 millimeter handgun to school, shoots a classmate, fatally wounds a teacher who tried to intervene, wounds another student, then turns the gun on himself.
In their released statement to the community, Jose Reyes' parents describe a good family life, offering no explanation for the shooting other than possibly that he had been teased about a speech problem.
Attorneys we've talked with say there's nothing unusual about felony child abuse charges being pleaded down to a misdemeanor, especially if the incident did not lead to serious injury. The threat of felony charges is apparently often used to get a parent to take the matter seriously and get counseling. If so, it apparently worked in this case.
It should be noted, however, had Jose Reyes-Mandujano been convicted on felony charges, there would not or should not have been a gun in the home for his son to take to school.