A teacher and student are dead, and two boys are in critical condition after a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Nevada on Monday morning.
Police say a student at the middle school shot and killed the teacher, who was trying to protect students after the shooter began firing a gun. The shooter then turned the gun on himself.
Family members identified the staff member who was killed as math teacher Michael Landsberry, 45. Landsberry was a military veteran who leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters.
The shooting took place on campus outside the school building at 7:15 a.m., shortly before classes were set to begin, police said.
"We heard a pop, like a loud pop, and everybody was screaming, and the teacher came to investigate," an eight grade student told the Gazette-Journal. "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."
Students were evacuated to nearby Sparks High School, where parents walked with their arms around their children, some of whom were in tears.
"We came flying down here to get our kids," said Mike Fiorica, whose nephew attends the school. "It's really chaotic. You can imagine how parents are feeling. You don't know if your kid's OK."
Police and city officials said at a press conference that the shooting was an isolated incident and the city is safe.
"I want to reiteriate again that the city itself is very safe," Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said at a press conference. "This is an isolated incident. I don't believe it's going to be a spree that's going to go on."
Nevada's Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Harry Reid both issued statements expressing their sorrow over the shooting and promised to continue monitoring the situation.
"My condolences go out to the victims' families, and my thoughts are with the teachers, administrators, parents and students at Sparks Middle School who have experienced a traumatic morning. No words of condolence could possibly ease the pain, but I hope it is some small comfort that Nevada mourns with them," Reid said.
Washoe County School District spokesman Charles Rahn said the middle school will be closed all week.
Sparks, a city of roughly 90,000, lies just east of Reno. Sparks Middle School, located in a working-class neighborhood, enrolls about 700 students.
The Associated Press