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Teacher, student killed in Sparks school shooting
by Garrett Valenzuela
Oct 21, 2013 | 2389 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting on Monday. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school.
Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting on Monday. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school.
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A Sparks Middle School teacher was shot and killed early Monday morning when a male student at the school revealed a semi-automatic handgun, shooting the teacher and two 12-year-old students, according to Tom Miller, acting chief of the Sparks Police Department.

The suspect and teacher, Michael Landsberry, 45, were confirmed dead Monday morning and the two victims were treated for non life-threatening conditions as of 4 p.m. One student was shot in the shoulder and the other in the abdomen.

Reno Police Department Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said Monday that Landsberry was “trying to intervene” when he saw the student with the gun and called him a “hero” in the situation.

Students at Sparks Middle School were evacuated to Agnes Risley Elementary School and then transported to Sparks High School where they were released to their parents. Both Risley and Sparks Middle will be closed for the remainder of the week.

Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras said only three minutes passed from initial reports of the shooting to the incident’s end. He added that agencies from Sparks and Reno PD, Nevada Highway Patrol and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, totaling between 150 and 200 officers.

Parents seeking information or counseling are encouraged to call 789-3804, 789-3802 or 333-3786. Counseling sessions will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Palmer Elementary, Sparks High School and the Johnson Community Center.

Landsberry taught math at Sparks Middle School and was a graduate of McQueen High School and the University of Nevada, Reno, according to long-time friend and colleague Jerry Miller, who coaches girls soccer and teaches at Sparks High. As a former Marine and member of the Air National Guard, Landsberry held a special place in Miller’s heart because of his willingness to help others.

“He was one of my best friends,” Miller said Monday afternoon following the tragedy. “We just played golf last Wednesday. He was definitely a Marine. He had that attitude about him. What he did today doesn’t surprise me.

“The girls on the team and his students loved him. He was always popular. He had a hard edge but a heart of gold. He would do anything for the kids and his friends. He was always there for you.”

Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez addressed the devastation to the school community and its families during multiple press conferences Monday. He thanked the police agencies for their timely response and execution in getting children to safety.

“This is just a very sad day for us, a very tragic day,” Martinez said. “We will be working with our children, our parents and our police to get through this day. I want to thank the community for coming together behind this tragedy.”

Sparks Mayor Geno Martini gave his condolences to the community and stressed that the city is safe despite the fatal shooting.

“It’s a sad day in the City of Sparks,” Martini said. “Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected. I want to reiterate that the city itself is very safe. This is just an isolated incident.

“I don’t believe this is any kind of spree. It’s very, very tragic. Everyone was very good in coming together to help us respond to this tragic day.”

Barbara Clark, president of the WCSD Board of Trustees, was saddened as she spoke about student safety throughout the district. She said the Board was helping police in every way possible and interventions were in place for students and families.

She added that Gov. Brian Sandoval had called to express his sympathy in the matter, saying a heartfelt sentiment was sent to the community.

There will be a Community Prayer Night Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Sparks Nazarene Church, 2200 El Rancho Dr. It will be a multi-faith event, led by student ministries from the community.
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