Sparks Middle School shooting
A school shooting incident occurred on October 21,
2013 at Sparks Middle School, in Sparks, Nevada, United States. A
12-year-old student, Jose Reyes, opened fire with a semi-automatic
handgun, injuring two students and killing a teacher. Reyes then
committed suicide. The two students received non-life-threatening
injuries from gunshot wounds. The teacher who died was a math teacher.
At about 7:15 am, 15 minutes before classes
started, Jose Reyes was talking to a group of students behind the
school campus near the north hallway, and appeared angry.
According to a witness, Reyes said "Why you people
making fun of me, why you laughing at me?" Reyes then pulled out a
Ruger 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and fired at the students. One
student was shot in the shoulder and injured. Reyes aimed the handgun
at another student but did not fire.
He then walked southbound to the basketball court
area. Michael Landsberry, a math teacher, saw Reyes and then tried to
intervene. Landsberry demanded he drop the gun and Reyes replied with
"No!" Reyes shot and killed Landsberry, as he was standing on a
He then shot twice at a window, shattering the
glass, and then shot and wounded a student who tried to come to
Landsberry's assistance after he fell to the ground. That student was
shot in the abdomen from 10 to 20 feet away. Students then ran away
from the school campus. Reyes committed suicide from a self-inflicted
gunshot wound to the head. The first 911 calls were made after 7:15
According to police, the shooter attempted to enter
the school doors but they were locked due to the school district's
At least twenty students witnessed the shootings.
At least 150 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting, some
from as far as 60 miles away from Sparks.
Michael Landsberry, a 45-year-old eighth-grade math
teacher and veteran of the United States Marine Corps and Nevada
National Guard, was killed in the shooting from a gunshot wound to the
chest. He is considered a hero for his actions during the attack.
Two 12-year-old male students are being
hospitalized in Renown Regional Medical Center. The victims were
initially in critical condition, but their conditions were upgraded to
fair and serious. One victim, Mason Davis, sustained gunshot injuries
to his lower abdomen, and the other sustained injuries to his upper
torso area. As of October 23, the two students remain hospitalized.
The shooter, Jose Reyes, was a 12-year-old
seventh-grade student at the school. He was wearing a Sparks Middle
School uniform during the attack. A student who tutored the shooter
said that he was disconnected from other people. Friends and
acquaintances of Reyes said that he was bullied by students. A friend
of Reyes said that he seemed like a "typical 12-year-old" who did not
have many friends.
The gun used in the shooting belonged to his
parents. The boy's parents could face charges in connection with the
Immediately after the shooting, students were
evacuated from Sparks Middle School to nearby Agnes Risley Elementary
School. The students from both schools were then being moved to Sparks
High School. Classes were cancelled at Sparks Middle School for the
school week. Classes re-opened on October 29.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Harry
Reid released statements expressing condolences to the victims, their
families and the school community. On October 22, President Barack
Obama's office called Sparks Mayor Geno Matini to express their
Candlelight vigils were held for Michael Landsberry
and the two students on October 23 in Reno, and at Sparks Middle
School. Several hundred people attended the vigils. A vigil was held
on October 25 at the Sparks Marina for Landsberry and the two wounded
12-year-old Nevada middle school shooter was
bullied, left two suicide notes: police
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
SPARKS, Nev. — In less than 10 minutes after his
mother dropped him off at school on the morning of Oct. 21, 2013,
seventh-grader Jose Reyes and a popular middle school teacher lay on
the school yard, dead from gunshot wounds. Two classmates were wounded
and a school was in panic.
After seventh months and an exhaustive police
investigation that produced a report of 1,300 pages, authorities on
Tuesday released an in-depth report about the shooting that painted a
picture of bullying, depression and a normal school day turning
violent in the matter of minutes. Still, authorities aren't sure they
fully understand what motivated the 12-year-old Reyes to take his
parents' 9mm Ruger pistol and two magazines of ammunition to school
Interviews with the boy's parents, teachers and
classmates and the boy's own writings paint a portrait of a child
troubled by depression and feelings of inadequacy at home and
tormented by a school life in which he was mocked, teased and
Some warning signs were there. His father had taken
him to a psychotherapist just three days before the shooting and the
doctor proscribed an antidepressant after the boy told of being teased
at school, called "gay" and accused of peeing in his pants. His mother
had done research on autism after Jose showed signs of it.
A look at his phone and his video viewing habits
was more troubling.
In addition to phone images of the two teens who
committed suicide after killing 13 at Colorado's Columbine High School
in 1999, Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen said Tuesday investigators
found searches on the Reyes family laptop in both July and October for
"Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game." Forty-seven of the 69
video games in the boy's collection were "violent themed first-person
shooter or shooter type games" such as "grand Theft Auto V,"
''Assassins Creed" and "Call of Duty 4."
The youth who had wrestled with speech problems
since kindergarten, who students told police been called "stupid"
and/or "retard" in the hallways and poked by others in the side, tried
to explain in separate suicide notes that offer insight and
In one to "teachers and students," Allen said the
boy "clearly expressed anger ... over his belief that he was
embarrassed and mistreated at school" and "indicated he would get
Reyes wrote that he'd been called gay, lazy,
stupid, an idiot, had his money stolen and been accused of wetting his
"Well that all ends. Today I will get revenge on
the students and teachers for ruining my life," he wrote, adding that
he would bring a pistol and rifle to school "to shoot you and see how
you like it when someone (sic) making fun of you."
"Have a great death at school," he said on the
one-page note of spiral notebook paper he closed with a drawing of a
tombstone that read: "Sparks Middle School 1965-2013."
But in the second contradictory note to his
parents, he said "this shooting is not because of the shooting games,
bullying or other stuff." He said it was because "some bad things in
the past cause of me."
"And now I'm just a monster," Reyes wrote. "If you
hate me and my family doesn't love me it's okay. I know that I'm just
an idiot. But I love you and I wish the past would be good and better
Police learned one of the students shot during the
rampage had teased Reyes about not having muscles during a physical
education class, had called him names and may have played a part in
pouring water on him when he was accused of wetting his pants.
The mistreatment didn't rise to the level to merit
bullying charges, Allen said.
Police earlier said Reyes' parents could be charged
if they knowingly made the 9 mm pistol available to the boy. But Allen
said Tuesday the investigation turned up no evidence that Jose and
Liliana Reyes were aware that their son knew where the 9 mm pistol was
kept in a kitchen cabinet.
Ken Robison, a Reno lawyer for the parents, said
prosecutors indicated to him earlier they would not be charged, but
Tuesday's announcement brought a "sense of relief."
Allen said the boy acted alone and did not
communicate his plan to anyone.
"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," he said. "That in itself is a tragedy."
Chilling details, no 1 motive in Sparks school
Siobhan McAndrew - Reno Gazette-Journal
May 13, 2014
When Sparks Middle School teacher Michael
Landsberry died he had had $3 in his wallet, keys, a cell phone and
his wedding ring.
Those are just a few of thousands of chilling
details in a 1,300 page report released by the Sparks Police
Department on Tuesday, almost seven months after seventh grader Jose
Reyes killed Landsberry, shot and injured two students before killing
On Oct. 21, 2013, Reyes brought a 9-mm
semi-automatic pistol to school from home and just before the first
bell terrorized hundreds of students and staff according to
heartbreaking testimony in the report.
The investigation included search warrants ranging
from Reyes' locker and his home to school files, including those who
were injured. Even school photos of every Sparks Middle School student
taken by Lifetouch National Pictures were gathered to identify
children in surveillance video.
And although there are hundreds of witness
statements, letters from Reyes written to his parents and the school,
documented cases where the 12-year-old was mistreated by classmates
and questions surrounding his social and academic background, police
said there is no one motive.
"The investigation did not identify one clear
catalyst or motive for the actions of the suspect," Sparks Police
Chief Brian Allen said.
The report included witnesses describing in detail
hearing what they thought were firecrackers or someone popping a brown
lunch bag before seeing Reyes wave a silver and black gun and shoot
What police found
Police described a boy who owned violent video
games, used the family's laptop to search for things including
bullying and to look up "Top 10 evil children" and "Super Columbine
Massacre Role Playing Game."
Allen said images on Reyes' phone had photos of
violent wars scenes and pictures of the Columbine High School
Police also said the parents Jose and Liliana Reyes
would not be charged with a crime.
"They did not believe their son had any interest in
firearms and he was not a child that acted in violent or aggressive
behavior," Allen said.
The gun used, one of two from the Reyes' apartment
in Sparks, were kept in a cabinet above the refrigerator behind cereal
Liliana Reyes told police after hearing about the
shooting at Sparks Middle School from a family member who called that
she looked at the kitchen cupboard where the two guns were kept.
She realized the cereal boxes had been moved and
she called her husband.
The 12-year-old Reyes also wrote two notes that
police found in a spiral notebook inside the orange backpack he took
to school that morning.
The notebook with Angry Birds on the cover, a video
game where players use a sling slot to take down cartoon character
birds, Reyes tells his parents he is sorry.
"Dear mom and dad I'm sorry about all this is
because some of my family and friends hate me but I understand. What I
did this shooting is not because of the shooting games, bullying or
other stuff is because of the past causes there some bad things in the
past cause of me. And now I'm just a monster..." the handwritten
He ends the letter to his parents, "But I love you
and I wish the past would be good and better someday."
Allen said the notes give conflicting motivation
for the shooting but both elude that his life would end in the
The report outlined cases of bullying.
Although police had multiple reports that Reyes had
been teased and bullied, they had a difficult time pinning any
students down on the details of those incidents, including the names
of the offenders and the specific bullying actions.
Three students recounted an incident in the locker
room where Reyes was drinking from a water bottle and a student
knocked it out of his hands. The group then laughed and teased him for
looking as if he had urinated in his pants.
"No evidence was identified that indicated Reyes
was bullied by the definition of state law," the report said.
"However, it is clear on numerous occasions he was treated poorly,
teased, called names and mocked by other students."
In the letter to teachers and students, Reyes
writes he would get revenge.
"Dear teachers and students today is the day when I
kill you bastards for the embarressment that you did. You say mean
things in school. That I'm gay. That I'm lazy. Stupid. Idiot and also
say I pee my pants and also stealing my money. Well that all ends.
Today I will get revenge on the students and teachers for ruinning my
life...And right now this school will now come to an end your death
will be rising when I shoot you. Have a great death at school."
School intercom didn't work
The report includes witness statements ranging from
those at the middle school on Oct. 21 to teachers the student had in
The day of the shooting students and teachers
describe running in fear, some hoping fences around the school or
tripping as they tried to reach safety.
Then-Principal Stacy Cooper was inside the school
when a crowd of students began running toward her, saying that someone
was shooting a gun.
She called Code Red on her radio and called 911,
but the intercom wasn't working when she attempted to announce Code
Red to the rest of the school. She told police it was common for the
intercom system to not work.
Cooper said she was familiar with Reyes because he
had a history of "angry outbursts" at Agnes Risley Elementary School.
She told police she wasn't aware of any bullying reports.
"We were playing catch, and I heard a loud pop,"
student wrote. The student in his own messy handwriting describes
seeing Reyes aim the gun at Landsberry and shoot. "He fell to the
ground, then I ran."
In an interview with Sparks Middle School Vice
Principal Jerry Endres told police he went to Landsberry saw he was
dead, turned when he heard a gunshot and saw Reyes pointing the gun at
He said he believed Reyes was chasing him and as he
ran, he fell. He hid behind a planter until he was able to get into
Endres also tried to call Code Red over the
intercom, but it wasn't working. He then went into the cafeteria with
a group of students and stacked garbage cans in front of the door.
"I heard a loud pop," writes teacher Benjamin
Tucker. "I thought it was a firecracker. Mr. Landsberry and I went to
investigate. We saw students running in all directions."
Tucker describes watching Landsberry drop to the
"I turned and fled to the gym where I opened the
door and let a few students in."
What boy's parents, others said
The report also includes details from interviews
with Liliana and Jose Reyes who describe a son they loved but knew
They said he almost died when he was born and
didn't start talking until he was 5.
In the report, the boy's mother first asked for
help from school officials when Reyes was in fourth grade.
The parent involvement facilitator at the school
said she helped with two parent-teacher meetings on the subject, which
she said ended positively.
Teachers at Agnes Risley first noticed emotional
problems with Reyes in second grade. They said he would often cry and
would take him for walks around the school to help him calm down.
Reyes' fourth-grade teacher, Kelly Lorenzetti,
described him as "always smiling, always willing to help and very
quiet." She also said he had few friends and would participate in
imaginary play rather than organized sports at recess.
Lorenzetti told police Reyes had been diagnosed on
the autism spectrum.
Christy Bartlett, a special education teacher who
worked at Agnes Risley Elementary School, said Reyes would often
believe he was being teased when children were reacting to something
She said the kids at the elementary school "cared
for Jose and did not let people pick on him because of his speech or
Bartlett told police that Reyes had a difficult
time calming down once he became angry. He once threw a chair against
a wall when he thought a student was teasing him for reading from a
lower-level book, she said.
Bartlett said she recommended that Reyes be placed
in a life skills class, but the recommendation was denied by the
The report provides some of the earliest clues to
what police described as a suspect that struggled with verbal
communication skills as early as kindergarten.
In one note from school counselors, it appears a
Washoe County School District employee is worried about how Reyes will
manage in middle school.
"He is very low academically and cognitively and
also gets frustrated and upset when he is confused or does not
understand something," she writes. "I am worried about his ability to
handle middle school."
In the report are many details that combined point
to a child who had difficulties.
Also, three days before the shooting, Reyes was
prescribed a generic form of Prozac by local psychotherapist Garen
Students at Sparks Middle School watched two
anti-bullying videos in the weeks before the shooting, both of which
described school violence and shootings as a result of bullying.
Film "Teen Truth" shown on Sept. 13, 2013 portrays
a victim of bullying pulling a gun from his backpack and shooting
another student. At the end of the film, the bullying victim talks
about "wishing he could go back in time to change things in the past."
The film shows his actions being reversed.
In his note to his parents, Reyes wrote, "When I
die, I will go back to the past and fix everything."
Police said that the film ends with a "clear
message that being a victim of bullying or any mistreatment does not
justify hurting another person."
But the police report also said that the film was
supposed to be accompanied by other student activities. Those
activities were not completed in Reyes' class.
Students watched a second bullying video the Friday
before their fall break, which included stories of a victim who hanged
himself, a girl who brought a girl to school and a lesbian student who
RGJ reporter Anjeanette Damon contributed to this
Friends, family say middle school shooter was
Siobhan McAndrew, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal -
November 11, 2013
SPARKS, Nev. — The boy sat in the front seat as his
mom drove to school.
Almost as tall as his father, José Reyes, who
turned 12 in July, was starting to look grown up, but he was still
very much a kid.
He played with toy soldiers, sometimes giving the
green figurines roles in videos he made on his father's cellphone. He
believed in Santa Claus and hid his letters to St. Nick in a spot he
didn't think his parents knew about at the back of the Christmas tree.
On his birthday every year, he smeared frosting on his face, just like
he had done when he was a baby.
Oct. 21 was a typical morning.
Just before 6 a.m., José's father walked into his
room before he left for work.
"I love you," said the father, bending over to kiss
"I love you, too," José said.
Then he got up, went into his parents' room and
climbed into the bed.
He tried to open his mom's eyes with his fingers.
"Are you sleeping?" he asked.
"If you're climbing in my bed, I'm going to kiss
you," she said as he hid under the covers, pretending to wipe away her
kisses on the sheets.
Of her three children, José was the easy one. But
on Oct. 21, José insisted he needed his BB gun for science class as
they drove to school, his younger sisters still in pajamas in the back
seat. Spanish music played on the radio.
"No," his mom said. "You get a note signed by your
teacher before you bring that."
José left the BB gun and got out of the car at
Sparks Middle School.
In his orange backpack was a Ruger 9 mm
A family begun young
José's mother, Liliana, and father, José Reyes,
whom he is named after, met at a dance and later exchanged numbers at
a pizza place. Both of their families had come to Nevada from Mexico.
They were married in 2000, when she was 21 and he
A few months later, Liliana Reyes announced she was
"I knew my life was going to change. I knew it was
a big responsibility," José Reyes said of the pregnancy. "We were
really happy to have that responsibility."
Liliana Reyes wanted to be a mom.
"I had something because the kids would always
follow me," she said of her nieces and nephews.
José was born after eight hours of labor and with
the umbilical cord around his neck on July 2, 2001. He weighed 7
pounds, 10 ounces and had a full head of hair.
Like most new babies, he slept all day and stayed
up all night.
"We always said he talked to angels because he was
smiling at 1 week old," Liliana Reyes said.
José Reyes worked in restaurants, first as a
busboy, then a cook as his family grew with the birth of two more
children, girls born in 2005 and 2006.
The family moved to Arizona, and José Reyes worked
in construction. When the economy slowed, the family moved back to
Nevada and he worked at his brother's restaurant.
He saved his money and on May 14, 2011, he opened
his own place, Sparks Coffee Shop. The popular restaurant is open for
breakfast and lunch and is known for its food, service and the Reyes
On most days, a line of customers stretches out the
door. Many now know what happened at Sparks Middle School just before
the first school bell of the morning.
At 7:16 a.m. Oct. 21, the boy whom customers knew
well walked onto his school campus and shot a student in the shoulder.
He headed toward the basketball courts and shot and killed teacher
Michael Landsberry. Many students said he pointed the gun at others
before he shot a second student in the abdomen. He then turned around
and walked north before killing himself.
John and Myrna Dunn remember hearing the news.
"No, not this boy, this family," Myrna Dunn said.
She and her husband eat at the restaurant a few times a week.
They remember meeting his father when he was just a
little older than José. The elder José Reyes was 14 then and a busboy
when he impressed and charmed the now-retired couple.
They said José Reyes makes everyone who comes into
his business feel like family.
"We think of him as a son," John Dunn said.
They grew to also love the boy when he started
working at his father's restaurant.
"He always had a smile on his face," John Dunn
He remembers shaking the young man's hand and
giving him a hard time about his gentle grip.
"I told him, 'You have to have a strong handshake.'
And ever since, whenever we came in, he squeezed my hand as hard as he
could," John Dunn said.
Son helps at father's restaurant
José started working at his dad's restaurant
shortly after it opened in 2011, spending weekends, school vacations
and some nights after school washing dishes, greeting customers,
busing tables and cooking.
His dad was proud to show his son what it meant to
"I want my son to learn not to just ask for things,
you have to earn it," he said. "Everything I told him to do, even if
he didn't know how to do it, he never complained."
He remembers the time a customer dropped a $100
bill and José ran out of the restaurant to return it.
He told his son he had to learn to break eggs with
one hand so he could work faster. When José came home with a burn from
cracking an egg against a hot pan, his mother asked if it hurt.
"It is part of the job," José said.
His parents were proud of José's report cards and
kept the dozens of student awards from the time he was in kindergarten
through the start of middle school this year.
"He made us feel like we are doing the right thing
with our kids," José Reyes said. "Sometimes the money I gave him, he
just wanted to give it back to me so I can use it."
With his entire first paycheck, he bought his
mother shoes. When the family went to Walmart, he bought his sisters
"One time, we went to Olive Garden for dinner. I
was about to pay," José Reyes said. His son announced that he was
picking up the tab.
"We started laughing and we looked at each other,
'Are you serious?'" they said, explaining to their son it was
But their son insisted and paid the $80 bill, an
amount that took months for him to earn.
Longtime neighbors said Liliana and José Reyes
adored their children.
"They were polite and well-behaved children
always," said Bill Williams, who lived next to the couple in an
apartment in Sparks for four years.
"Their children are everything to them," said Gale
Williams, who keeps the birthdates of José and his sisters written on
a napkin in her kitchen.
The couple offered to babysit many times. They said
the hardworking parents spent every free moment with their children.
"I don't think José ever took a day off that first
year of the restaurant," Bill Williams said. "José said he was working
to make something for his children."
Bill Williams said he wished more parents were like
José and Liliana Reyes.
"This is a good family," said Kent Robison, whose
law firm is representing the family. "They are devastated and so sorry
Robison said no one should judge this family
because of a child-abuse charge from two years ago.
In early 2012, José Reyes pleaded guilty to
misdemeanor child abuse after hitting his son and giving him a black
eye after an argument during which his son struck him first. José
Reyes reported it immediately to a counselor at his son's school.
Police found no other incidents of abuse before or
since and have not linked the school shooting to the one incident.
The investigation into the shooting could take
months or longer to complete, police have said.
But this family had no clues about what led to the
violence Oct. 21.
The José recently got in trouble in a music class
and was blamed for something that he might not have done, Robison
He was teased because he had a slight speech
impediment. He was also made fun of after he spilled water on his
pants, Robison said. Kids said he wet his pants and called him gay.
The Friday before the shooting, his parents sent
their son to a counselor, worried because he seemed sad. But they say
they saw no signs of that José would take a gun out of his backpack at
Sparks Middle School.
"It could happen to anyone," José Reyes said. "We
want people to understand we knew him as the boy and the 12 years he
lived, not because of what happened."
A family's grief
At their son's funeral, Liliana and José Reyes
stood with their son's body during the entire service. The shooting
had happened three days previous, and this was the first time they
were able to see their son's remains.
They told him they loved him and hoped he was
happy. His sisters read letters about how much they would miss their
They say they don't know why José took the gun from
above their refrigerator and out of its latched but not locked case.
They didn't realize he knew they had a firearm.
Liliana Reyes said she didn't know she was helping
her son get ready for school for the final time.
She ran her hands through his thick hair with gel,
styling it the way he liked. Then he got dressed in khaki pants and a
gray school sweatshirt she had ironed. Sometimes he reminded his mom
to iron his clothes, a habit she started when her boy was just weeks
old as she pressed baby T-shirts and jeans she liked to dress him in
to match his daddy.
She said she was close to her little boy but knew
he wanted to be just like his father.
"So guapo," she said, telling him in Spanish how
handsome he was before they left for school for that morning.
"I know," he said, smiling back.
Father of 12-year-old Sparks Middle School
shooter admits to hitting his son and giving him a black eye
Jose Reyes Sr. pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child
abuse charges in 2012
He admitting hitting his son, also named Jose
Reyes, in January that year
Reyes Sr. reported the incident himself and has no
Those who did discuss him with reporters said he
liked video games
His family has been cooperating with police in the
By Daniel Miller - DailyMail.co.uk
November 8, 2013
The father of the 12-year-old Sparks Middle School
shooter was found guilty of child abuse after admitting hitting his
son and giving him a black eye in 2012, it has emerged.
Seventh grader Jose Reyes walked into the Nevada
school on the morning of October 21 and opened fire with a
9-millimeter Ruger semiautomatic pistol before the first bell had
Teacher Michael Landsberry was shot dead and two
male students were injured before Reyes turned the gun on himself.
The boy's father Jose Horacio Reyes, 32, pleaded
guilty to misdemeanor child abuse charges, after admitting hitting his
son in January 2012.
Police records tell how the pair had argued after
returning home from buying video games. The youngster was apparently
having trouble counting the money to pay for the games and his father
had tried to teach him.
There had apparently been a disagreement after
which Reyes, referred to as Reyes-Mandujano in the record, said to his
son: 'You don't have to be a crybaby.'
He told the police that his son then became upset
and hit him at which point he lost control and smacked the boy two or
three times across the face with an open hand and then a back hand.
The record states: 'The strikes to REYES face
resulted in a black eye.'
The following day the father reported the incident
to school officials and was arrested on felony child abuse charges.
He later pleaded guilty in Sparks Justice Court to
a misdemeanor charge of child abuse, neglect or endangerment and was
ordered to pay a $500 fine and attend anger management and parenting
According to the arrest report, Reyes told police
he felt 'sick to his stomach' about what he had done.
The record shows that he had no previous criminal
history and that his son told the same story about the incident.'
The arresting officer wrote: 'Reyes-Mandujano is
being very cooperative and honest and forthright, but I was still
going to place him under arrest and take him to jail tonight.'
The shocked community is still struggling to come
to terms with the shooting and explain what drove an apparently happy
12-year-old to bring a gun into school.
His parents described him as a loving son who would
kiss them every day and used to save the money he earned working at
his family's restaurants to buy gifts for his two younger sisters and
treat his parents to dinner.
Mr Reyes said: 'We did not know Jose was angry or
upset about conditions at school.
'He had never complained about any particular
teacher or student. We knew that he had been teased and that he was
trying to work through a speech problem that he had.'
Teacher Michael Landsberry, 45, who died after
being shot by the boy was an ex-Marine who coached basketball and
soccer and was known as a big fan of Batman.
He had served several tours of Afghanistan before
becoming a much loved teacher. He is understood to have been shot
while trying to talk the boy into handing over his weapon.
Around 20 to 30 middle school students witnessed
the multiple shootings.
A seventh-grade student called Andrew Thompson told
IBNlive: 'A kid started getting mad and he pulled out a gun and shoots
my friend, one of my friends at least.
'And then he walked up to a teacher and says back
up. The teacher started backing up and he pulled the trigger.'
Two 12-year-old male students were taken to
hospital in critical condition after one was shot in the stomach and
the other shot in the shoulder.
One young man underwent surgery. Both students are
now said to be in stable condition.
It is believed the student stole the semi-automatic
handgun from his parents' home.
Sparks City Attorney Chet Adams released the boy’s
name after the Reno Gazette-Journal announced its plans to file a
Multiple students at the school had already told
the the Reno Review-Journal that Reyes was the shooter, but the
newspaper refused to report the name lacking official confirmation.
However, authorities were fighting a losing battle
as the young shooters identity was already widely known amongst
Sparks' 90,000 residents and was being circulated widely on social
City officials later acknowledged a report from the
Univision affiliate in Reno that disclosed the name and said they
would release it publicly to be fair to families and other media
In a news release, Sparks spokesman Adam Mayberry
said the name of the seventh-grader was released in 'order to be fair
to all the families involved and all the news media.'
'Hero' teacher, student gunman dead in Nevada
Siobhan McAndrew, Martha Bellisle and Brian Duggan
- USA TODAY
October 21, 2013
A Nevada middle school student shot and killed a
teacher and wounded two students Monday before fatally shooting
himself in the nation's latest horrific act of school violence.
Police said the teacher at Sparks Middle School
died trying to protect students.
"We've got video we have to review, people we've
got to talk to," said Tom Robinson, deputy chief of Reno police. "But
in my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to
The Reno Gazette-Journal said the victim,
45-year-old Michael Landsberry, was also a member of the Nevada Army
National Guard. Landsberry was a popular math teacher at the middle
school, the Journal said.
Chanda Landsberry said her brother-in-law, who
received bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Nevada,
Reno in 2001, loved teaching.
"He loved his school kids. He loved the Guard," she
said. "It defined him."
Eighth-grader Kyle Nucum, 13, said he was on an
outside basketball court when the shooting happened about 7:15 a.m.
"We heard a pop, like a loud pop, and everybody was
screaming and the teacher came to investigate," Kyle said. "I thought
it was a firecracker at first, but the student was pointing a gun at
the teacher. After the teacher told him to put it down, and the
student fired a shot ... at the teacher and the teacher fell and
everybody ran away."
Kyle said he and other students heard four or five
more shots as they ran across a field, where a woman let them into her
Student Michelle Hernandez said she saw the shooter
Monday morning. "I heard him saying, 'Why you people making fun of me,
why you laughing at me,?" Michelle said.
Eighth-grader Seth Hinchberger said the shooter
"pulled out a weapon and just shot it. And scared all of us and we
just started running."
Seth said they ran into a hall and created a pile,
"guys in the front … for the safety of the girls." He said the shooter
came over and appeared to aim at the pile, but was distracted by a
teacher and started shooting in another direction.
Michael Landsberry's students shared the pain of
his loss in an outpouring of heartfelt messages on social media, and
shared silly photos of their teacher, showing his playfulness in the
Landsberry kept a math website to help his students
get through each year called "Welcome to Mr. L's Math Class for
"I have one classroom rule and it is very simple:
'Thou Shall Not Annoy Mr. L,'" the site said. "I am looking forward to
getting to know and teach all of you this year. I know that at times
the year will be tough and boring but I will do my best to make the
Some of his students told reporters that Landsberry
loved Batman so much that many used the title as his nickname.
Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said 150 to
200 personnel secured the school and the surrounding area. Addressing
parents during a press conference, he said "I can tell them to rest
assured. The schools are safe. The rest of the city is safe."
Sparks Middle School, in a working-class section of
the city of 90,000, has about 700 students in the seventh and eighth
"This is just a very sad day for us, a very tragic
day," said Pedro Martinez, the superintendent of the Washoe County
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini praised the emergency
response during a press conference Monday.
"The city itself is very safe, this is just an
isolated incident," Martini said. "It's very, very tragic, I'm
saddened to have to be here."
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement:
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific
shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning. My administration is
receiving regular updates and the Nevada Highway Patrol is assisting
at the scene. Kathleen and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the
victims and those affected by these tragic events."
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also released this
statement expressing condolences to the victims, their families and
everyone at the school.
McAndrew, Bellisle and Duggan report for the
Gazette-Journal. Contibuting: Guy Clifton, Steve Timko, Susan Skorupa,
Emerson Marcus, Gazette-Journal; John Bacon, USA TODAY; the Associated