SPARKS, NV - Sparks police say they have no plans to release the name of the 12-year-old boy who shot and killed a teacher at Sparks Middle School Monday morning, then apparently killed himself after shooting two other students. Police say they will not release the name out of respect for the grieving family.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, Sparks police said the boy got the 9MM semi-automatic handgun from his home, but detectives are looking into its origin.
Police say the timeline looks like this: At 7:15AM, the student arrived on school grounds and shot a student in the shoulder in the north playground area. He then proceeded southbound and encountered teacher Michael Landsberry on the basketball court, shooting and killing him. The student then continued southbound, shooting a second student in the abdomen, then shot and killed himself. Police say they don't know the motive. Both students who were shot are listed in stable condition at Renown, according to the school district.
Police say no shots were fired inside the school, where classes hadn't begun for the day, and no shots were fired by police.
Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras says Landsberry had been a teacher at Sparks Middle School since 2001. He also coached boys basketball and girls volleyball, as well as girls soccer at Sparks High School. Landsberry was a Marine veteran and member of the Army National Guard.
Mieras says after the first student was shot, Landsberry walked to the shooter to try and calm him down, but the boy shot and killed him.
Washoe County Superintendent Pedro Martinez says students at the school have been offered counseling during this week with school cancelled until at least Friday. Martinez says, "Mr. Landsberry truly is a hero. He was a beloved teacher, beloved father. My condolences to his wife, children, and his siblings. He will NOT be forgotten." He says, "This is not a Washoe County incident, or a Sparks school incident; it has been a community incident. This is the action of one student and let’s not forget it is a tragedy for that family as well. This was one student. Our schools are safe.”
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini was at the news conference, offering what he called deepest condolences to the victims. “No words from a mayor can make them feel at peace today. But they should know they’re in our minds and hearts.” He says, “To school children today, bad things happen… Don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers, moms and dads on what has occurred."
The Community Foundation of Western Nevada is hosting a fund to provide financial support to the victims, students, staff, families, and Sparks Middle School. This fund, The SMS Compassion Fund, is accepting tax-deductible monetary donations. Disbursements will be advised by representatives of the Washoe County School District and the City of Sparks under the oversight of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, to assure the funds are distributed to meet the needs of the school community as they are identified. For more information, call the Community Foundation of Western Nevada at 775-333-5499.
Donations may be mailed to:
Community Foundation of Western Nevada
1885 South Arlington Avenue
Reno, NV 89509
Please reference “SMS Compassion Fund”
Two vigils are planned for Wednesday night. At 6PM, the African American Clergy Council of Northern Nevada will host a prayer vigil to honor those affected by the shooting. It will be at Second Baptist Church of Reno at 1265 Montello Street.
Then at 7PM, there will be a candlelight vigil also in front of Sparks Middle School to honor the victims. That one is planned by Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church.
Thursday, in light of the shooting, there will be a Community Prayer Night at 6:30 at the Sparks Nazarene Church at 2200 El Rancho Drive. It will be a multi-faith event, led by student ministries from our community.