“I’ve lived in this area all my life and have never really heard of anything like this,” said Matthew McCarran, a bartender at Bar Code, located at in the Sierra Center at Greenbrae Drive and Sullivan Lane. That sentiment came after he woke up to news of Monday morning’s shooting.
Oscar Becerra, a junior at Sparks High School, was getting his younger sisters ready for school at Agnes Risley Elementary School, a school across the street from Sparks Middle. The Becerra family lives in the Parkside Gardens Apartments on Byrd Drive, across the street from the elementary school.
“I saw all the cops drive by,” said Becerra. “I had no idea what was going on until a friend came over later and told me.”
Becerra was told by Risley Elementary officials to keep his sisters home for the day but later, explored the taped-off police barrier area with a friend.
“My daughter saw her teacher get shot and killed,” said Tabatha Allen, parent of an eighth grader at Sparks Middle School.
According to Allen’s daughter, Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School, wrestled the alleged gunman to the ground before being shot and killed.
“My daughter saw the kid pull out the gun,” said Allen. “He shot two kids who couldn’t tell him where the teacher was and then, he asked my daughter and her friend, Andrew. My daughter just froze and couldn’t answer him.”
“[Landsberry] was a former marine,” said Allen. “As a former marine myself, I am extremely proud of him.”
McCarran admits that he was desensitized to the news of the shooting.
“At the bar’s corner a couple of weeks ago, a man was shot and killed,” said McCarran. “The gun was left behind at the bar and the police swarmed the area, coming inside the bar to check things out. The last 10 years, this area went downhill, with all the foreclosures and people losing their jobs. But people usually feel safe walking down the street.”
Becerra was quick to say there’s no excuse for a school shooting.
“I heard that there was bullying,” said Becerra. “That’s no excuse. You should move to another school, do something different. Shooting someone is not the right thing to do.”
The Becerra family will keep their kids home for the rest of the week.
“There is no reason not to feel safe in school,” said Becerra. “I didn’t think anything like this would happen in Sparks. Maybe at the high school but not at the middle school.”
“The big question is, how did that kid get the gun?” said James Washington, a 13-year Sparks resident who watched Sparks police comb the Sparks Middle School crime scene, along with his friend, Travis Schulz. “Where are the parents?”
“This is a safe neighborhood,” said Schulz, who attended Sparks Middle School nine years ago. “This is a great school with some really great teachers. This is so horrible.”