SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - Police say they won't pursue criminal charges against the parents of a Nevada seventh-grader who went on a shooting rampage at his school nearly seven months ago, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide.
In the days after the Oct. 21 shooting at Sparks Middle School, police said 12-year-old Jose Reyes' parents could be charged if they knowingly made the gun available to him.
But Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen said at a news conference Tuesday there's no evidence the couple committed a crime.
The boy took the semi-automatic handgun from a kitchen cabinet in their home. His parents, Jose and Liliana Reyes, say they were not aware that he knew it was kept there.
Allen also says police believe Jose Reyes searched online for videos about Columbine High School massacre and other school shootings.
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - Police say a Nevada seventh-grader who went on a shooting rampage at his school nearly seven months ago was taking a prescription antidepressant at the time, and had told a psychotherapist that he was teased at school.
Twelve-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire Oct. 21 at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide.
Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen said at a news conference Tuesday that Reyes told a psychotherapist that other students made fun of him.
Allen says there wasn't enough evidence to merit charges, but there were signs that classmates mistreated Reyes.
The police chief also said Reyes had been showing signs of autism, and wrote in a suicide note that he wished he had been a better son.
TEXT OF NEWS CONFERENCE:
Good Afternoon, my name is Brian Allen and I am the Chief of Police; on behalf of the men and women of the Sparks Police Department, welcome. I would first like to thank the community for their patience in allowing us the time to thoroughly investigate the circumstances leading up to this tragedy. The Sparks Police Department and regional law enforcement recognized early on that this situation transcends beyond a singular criminal act. Many significant societal issues permeate this case, and it became our social obligation to investigate beyond just the criminal portion. We pursued all facts that could assist us, as a society, in understanding why and how these incidents occur with an ultimate goal of preventing similar situations in the future.
The Sparks Police Department and the City of Sparks wish to express our gratitude to the near 200 Federal, State, County and local law enforcement personnel that responded to the initial incident or assisted in the follow-up investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Reno Police Department, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Washoe County School District Police Department all provided substantial assistance to this investigation. I commend those initial responding officers, who entered Sparks Middle School, not fully knowing what they would find or see, putting their own lives and safety in jeopardy to protect our community’s children. Tragic events such as this highlight the overwhelming support, cooperation and valuable partnerships of our regional law enforcement.
From the Sparks Police Department I would like to recognize the case agent Det. Kevin Dach, co-case agent Det. Dorothy Peterson and Det. Jace Thelin for a majority of the work that will be presented in this case. I would also like to recognize Det. Sgt. Aaron Leary and Det. Lt. Rocky Triplett for their leadership and passionate pursuit of the facts in supervising this investigation.
For today’s press conference, I will cover the basic timeline of the incident, review the victim and suspect information and present the main findings of the full investigation.
On October 21, 2013, at Sparks Middle School an active assailant situation occurred which resulted in the murder of a teacher, two students being shot and the death of the suspect.
VM#1: 12 year old SMS Student, Kaelin Guerrero, victim of an Attempted Murder
VM#2: 45 year old SMS Teacher, Michael Landsbery, victim of a Murder
VM#3: 12 year old SMS Student, Mason Kamerer, victim of an Attempted Murder
VM#4: 43 year old SMS Teacher, Eric Perez, victim of an Assault with a Deadly Weapon
SUS: 12 year old SMS Student, Jose Reyes-Urtiz, death by suicide
Timeline of Events:
The following timeline is based on video surveillance from Sparks Middle School, Computer Aided Dispatch information from 911 calls, public safety radio communications and the completed investigation.
7:08 The suspect was dropped off at school by his mother, Liliana Urtiz. VM’s Kamerer and Guerrero were already at school and in different locations on the school grounds. The school day had not yet started.
7:13 Mr. Landsberry walked to the basketball courts for morning duty
7:14 The suspect walked to the West side of the North Hall, removes the semi-automatic handgun from his backpack and shot VM Guerrero in the left shoulder.
7:15 The suspect walked south to the basketball court where he encountered Mr. Landsberry.
Mr. Landsberry approached the suspect in a non-threatening manner and was shot in the upper left chest by the suspect.
Mr. Landsberry fell to the ground and the suspect moved toward and entered the South Courtyard.
7:16 While in the South Courtyard, the suspect fires two (2) rounds at Mr. Perez who was located in the East Hall.
As this was occurring, several students including VM Kamerer attempted to move and assist Mr. Landsberry.
VM Guerrero entered the North Hall and was assisted by substitute teacher Karolyn Hirsch.
At this time, initial 911 calls came into the Sparks Police Department Communications Center.
7:17 The suspect then walked towards the West end of the South Courtyard and encountered VM Kamerer.
Kamerer tried to get the suspect into the building, not knowing that he was the shooter.
The suspect shot Kamerer in the stomach and exited the South Courtyard after he reloaded the firearm.
As the suspect walked North along the rear or west of the gymnasium, he shot himself.
7:18 Sparks Police requested additional resources from outside agencies. The Reno Communications Center received overflow of 911 calls into their center.
7:20 Initial Sparks Police and regional law enforcement officers arrived at and enter the school.
7:22 REMSA paramedics are called to assist VM Kamerer on Byrd St. where a citizen stopped to assist Kamerer and flagged down a WCSD Police Officer.
7:25 Law enforcement personnel and a REMSA Tactical Medic arrived at the basketball court and assessed both Mr. Landsberry and the suspect. Both were determined to be deceased.
7:26 Law Enforcement personnel and REMSA Tactical Medics assessed and assisted VM Guerrero.
7:30 School evacuation began.
Overview of the Investigation:
The full investigation is approximately 1300 pages. The following is an overview of the major findings in the investigation. A full copy of the report is available for your review in accordance with Nevada Revised Statues.
Within hours of this incident, there were facts and information being presented to both law enforcement and the media that were based on rumor, innuendos, speculation and/or assumptions.
The Washoe County School District Police Department assigned personnel to assist and the Sparks Police Department Detective Division corresponded with the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office throughout the investigation. It was the job of the investigators to work through all the information presented to establish a comprehensive and accurate set of facts and information.
The firearm was a Ruger SR9C 9mm semi-automatic handgun, black and silver in color, with two (2) magazines, one (1) with a 17 round capacity and one (1) with a 10 round capacity. Though one of the magazines is considered “high-capacity,” neither magazine was filled to capacity at the time of the incident.
The firearm was given to the suspect’s father, Jose Reyes-Mandujano by a friend. Because it was a private party transaction, no NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) or Brady check was required or completed.
Even if a Brady check had been completed, there was no disqualifying information found during the investigation that would prohibit either parent from owning a firearm. They both continue to have the right to own firearms.
In separate and joint interviews with the suspect’s parents, Jose Reyes-Mandujano and Liliana Urtiz, both unequivocally stated; they did not believe their son had any knowledge of the firearm’s location, he did not know how to operate the firearm, he did not show any interest in firearms and he was not a child that acted out in violence or aggressive behavior. The parents took reasonable steps to conceal the location of the firearm within the residence. The totality of the facts and circumstances do not meet the threshold of NRS 202.300 and do not warrant charging the parents with a crime.
Jose Reyes-Mandujano was arrested for Child Abuse in February of 2012 when he self-reported to the school that he struck his son and caused an injury. Reyes-Mandujano pled to Misdemeanor Child Abuse in May of 2012. In our contacts with ATF, this is not a disqualifying incident for owning a firearm.
The family owns an XBOX 360 and 69 video games. Of the 69 video games owned, 47 are violent themed first person shooter or shooter type games such as: “Grand Theft Auto V”, “Hitman Absolution”, “Assassins Creed” and “Call of Duty; 4” and 4 violent video games that don’t involve firearms such as: “Great Battles – Medieval’ and “Deadliest Warriors – Ancient Combat.”
Forensic Searches of Computer and Phone:
The suspect had access to a family laptop style computer. A specific user cannot be determined as there are no additional passwords or sign-on information required by individual users. The suspect’s phone contained over 2000 photo images, many of which are snapshot images of internet websites that were similar to searches on the computer. These similarities indicate the suspect was likely the computer user when the following internet searches were completed.
Relevant internet searches conducted on the laptop computer are: (not an all-inclusive list):
“Top 10 evil children” -Children who kill, movies, images and articles.
“Top 10 evil children YouTube”
“Bullying” YouTube video walkthroughs for Bully Role Playing Game
“Top 10 evil children”
“Top 10 evil children” – Children who kill, videos, websites, articles and images
“Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game” – Game about the Columbine school shooting and related videos, sites, articles and images.
Bullying video searched on Bing – websites, videos, articles and images.
“Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game”
Music Band: “Foster The People” song pumped up kicks: music videos that include Columbine school shooting.
Frontier Middle School shooting – school shooting videos, school violence videos
School Shooting – searched on brainpop.com
Six searches related to Autism in English and Spanish on 10/18/13. Admittedly searched by Liliana Urtiz.
Photo images contained in the phone also included numerous photos of violent war scenes, numerous logos and advertisements for the video game Grand Theft Auto 5 and pictures of the Columbine High School shooters.
Psychotherapist appointment with Dr. Mirzaian
On October 18, 2013, the suspect had an appointment with Psychotherapist Mirzaian. This appointment was attended with his father.
The doctor noted the suspect showed symptoms of a depressive disorder based on feelings of inadequacy in his family and meeting family expectations.
The suspect also indicated that he was being teased at school and specifically spoke about being called “gay” and being teased about “peeing” his pants.
Dr. Mirzaian prescribed the suspect 10 mg Prozac once daily.
Toxicology reports indicated that at the time of autopsy the suspect had a generic form of Prozac, Fluoxetine in his system consistent with the prescription given.
Washoe County School District:
Prior to Sparks Middle School, the suspect had no contact with any of the victims in this case.
There are no documented interactions or conflicts between the suspect and Kamerer or Guerrero prior to middle school.
The suspect was not in any classes taught by Mr. Landsberry.
Individualized Education Program
School records show shows that the suspect struggled with verbal communication as early as Kindergarten and the 1st Grade.
An IEP meeting was scheduled for the suspect in the 1st Grade.
As he continued in elementary school, the IEP continued and the suspect continued to struggle with communication skills, socially and academically.
There are some indications in the IEP testing documents that the suspect began showing signs and symptoms of being in the Autism spectrum.
Within the IEP documentation, the suspect’s parents provide information indicating the suspect exhibited some characteristics and behaviors similar with Autism.
Sparks Middle School showed two anti-bullying videos prior to the shooting. In both cases, students were sent home with “passive” permission slips and instructions if parents did not want their children to view the videos. The suspect was present at school on both days the videos were shown.
“Teen Truth” was shown on 9/13/13.
“What is Bullying” was shown on 10/11/13.
Teasing and Bullying Allegations:
A Sparks Police Detective was assigned to watch all media sources and identify anyone who indicated they saw the suspect “bullied” or knew the suspect was “bullied” or “teased” at school.
The Sparks Police Department did not find sufficient facts to support a “Bullying” charge under NRS 200.900 or 388.122.
However, there were several instances reported during the investigation in which the suspect was mistreated by students at Sparks Middle School.
Information gathered indicated the following things occurred during PE class and that Kaelin Guerrero was involved in several of these instances. Guerrero was observed telling the suspect that he didn’t have the muscles to participate in PE, called him names during PE and at one point was involved in an incident were the suspect had water spilled on his pants and kids made fun of him for “peeing” his pants.
One student reported the suspect was “pantsed”-had his pants pulled down by others, in the PE locker room. This information could not be confirmed.
P.E. Teacher Gordon McGregor was interviewed and stated he never observed any of this behavior and it was never reported to him.
Information gathered indicated that some students made fun of the suspect and mocked him for his speech pattern.
Information was provided regarding students calling the suspect “stupid” and/or “retard” in the hallways and it was reported some students poked the suspect in the side.
The subjects that provided this information could not give specific information or details about who was involved or when these incidents occurred.
None of the students or teachers confirmed the suspect was teased or called “gay” as he reported to Dr. Mirzaian.
Two handwritten notes from the suspect were discovered during the investigation. Each note gives conflicting motivation for the shooting.
In one note, the suspect clearly expressed anger with the teachers and students of Sparks Middle School over his belief that he was embarrassed and mistreated at school. He indicated he would get revenge for these actions.
In the second note, written to his parents, the suspect indicated the incident was not a result of shooting games or bullying. He indicated he wished he could change the past, be a better kid and a better son to his parents.
In both notes, the suspect eluded that his life would end in the process.
The investigation did not identify one clear catalyst or motive for the actions of the suspect. The motives articulated in the two handwritten notes by the suspect are in direct conflict with each other.
The evidence shows the suspect had difficulties in Middle School at both an academic and social level and was showing signs and symptoms of Autism. Additionally the suspect felt inadequate in his dealings with his family. There were also potential external influences on the suspect to include internet, phone searches, video games and other materials.
The evidence indicates that the suspect did not communicate his plan with any other persons and that he acted alone.
We will never know the complete motive or intent behind this tragic incident as the only person with the true knowledge felt acting out in violence and taking his own life was the best course of action on that day. That in itself is tragedy.
In this case, the suspect gave no overt signs that he was going to take the actions that he did. However, there were clues and hints indicating he was in crisis.
To Students: Be nice, be Kind, treat your fellow students with respect, we are all a little different. IT DOES MATTER. If you see bullying, teasing or mistreatment, be brave, talk to a counselor, teacher, school police officer or trusted adult and put a stop to it. If you see or hear something about school violence in person, on Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat or any other of your means of communication, tell someone, if you want to remain anonymous, call the School District Secret Witness line at 329-6666
To Parents: If you own a firearm, don’t assume your child doesn’t know where it is. Lock it up, put a trigger safety on it, DO Something. Also, pay attention to what they are doing. Your children’s cell phone or internet activity is a mirror image of who they are. Look at internet searches, check their Facebook, Twitter and text messaging. Monitor the level and type of violence that they are exposing themselves to in video games, books, and movies. Again, if you hear or see something suspicious, call. We, as law enforcement would rather spend resources preventing an act of school violence than responding to one. Contact School Police, your local law enforcement or Secret Witness at 322-4900.
Since the Sparks Middle School incident and after the Renown Medical Complex shootings, your local law enforcement leaders have assigned staff to develop a Regional Response Guide to Active Assailants. Unfortunately, this guide cannot predict or prevent when these types of incidents will occur, but when they do occur; your local law enforcement will continue to be ready to respond.
Finally, the hearts and prayers of the members of the Sparks Police Department are with all of those involved in this tragic event; the Landsberry family, Kaelin Guerrero, Mason Kamerer, the Reyes family and the Sparks Middle School community. For the media, please be cautious and use your best discretion when reporting the details you obtain as you read and review this report. There are many individuals that are still dealing with the after effects of this tragic event.