Skip to main content

Nevada school shooting 911 call: 'I got a kid down who's been shot'

By Holly Yan. Michael Pearson and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
October 23, 2013 -- Updated 1259 GMT (2059 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Witness: Shooter yelled, "Why are you laughing at me?"
  • "There's a kid with a gun," student tells 911 dispatchers
  • Slain teacher served in Kuwait and Afghanistan with the Air National Guard
  • The two wounded students were in stable condition with non-life-threatening wounds, police say

(CNN) -- "This is a student at Sparks Middle School. Can you please send police out here? There's a kid with a gun."

"Somebody brought a gun to school. They shot a teacher."

"I got a kid down who's been shot."

As police tried to piece together how and why a seventh-grader shot and killed a teacher and wounded two other students at his Nevada school, recordings of the first calls to police captured the horror and chaos he unleashed.

Teacher died trying to stop shooter
Witness: Shooter yelled during rampage
911 caller: 'They shot a teacher'
Victim's brother: He loved teaching

The 12-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, began by shooting a fellow student in the shoulder, police said Tuesday. Then he turned his gun on math teacher Mike Landsberry before shooting a second student in the abdomen, Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras said.

After that, he shot himself to death with his pistol, which Sparks Deputy Police Chief Tom Miller identified as a Ruger 9mm semiautomatic.

"We got a guy with a gun. He's down from a head shot wound. Could be our shooter," one of the responding officers is heard telling dispatchers on the 911 calls. "He's out there on the basketball court."

Teacher dead in Nevada school shooting

Landsberry walked toward the shooter on a playground basketball court after the first student was hit, saving lives, according to authorities.

"Mr. Landsberry's heroic actions, by stepping toward the shooter, allowed time for other students in the playground area to flee," Mieras said.

Despite previous reports indicating the two wounded students had been shot inside the school building, all the shots were fired outside, police said.

Miller, who said earlier on CNN's "New Day" that it wasn't yet clear if the boy was targeting specific people, declined to identify the boy out of respect for his family.

"They are grieving parents and are going through" a challenging, difficult time, Miller said.

'I think he took out his bullying'

Authorities haven't said why they believe the boy opened fire.

Many have speculated that bullying might have played a role, 13-year-old Kyle Nucum told CNN's "The Lead."

That could be the case, said Nucum, a student at Sparks Middle School who didn't know the shooter but ran for cover after seeing him shoot Landsberry. As he fled, he heard the shooter shouting.

911 tapes in Nevada school shooting
Mayor: Teacher was very well liked
Student: Nevada shooter was bullied

"He was yelling a bunch of things while we were running," Nucum said. "He was yelling stuff like, 'Why are you laughing at me? Why are you doing this to me?'"

Before Monday morning, the boy seemed like the antithesis of a school shooter.

"He was really a nice kid," schoolmate Amaya Newton said. "He would make you smile when you were having a bad day."

But for whatever reason, the boy took his parents' handgun to school, a federal law enforcement source said. Miller said Tuesday that authorities aren't positive where the gun came from, but believe it belonged to the boy's parents.

Amaya said she thought the two wounded students were friends of the shooter. They were in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries Monday night, Miller said.

Authorities have not released the wounded boys' names.

Investigators haven't determined what prompted the shooting. Miller said only that police are exploring all avenues.

Amaya said she "saw him getting bullied a couple of times, and I think he took out his bullying."

Sparks Middle School Compassion Fund

Community Foundation of Western Nevada

775-333-5499

Nevadafund.org

Surviving Afghanistan, but not school

The teacher who died, Mike Landsberry, appeared to be trying to stop the incident when he was shot dead, Miller said Tuesday.

"It almost appears like he tried to talk him down," he said.

Slain Nevada teacher 'put his life on the line'

True to his character, the former Marine, a popular math teacher at Sparks Middle School, rushed to help others when the shots erupted.

"That was the kind of person that Michael was," said his brother, Reggie Landsberry. "He was the kind of person that if somebody needed help, he would be there."

Landsberry was an Alabama native who graduated from high school in Reno, next door to Sparks, in 1986. After his stint in the Marine Corps, he got an education degree from the University of Nevada in Reno. He joined the Air National Guard in 2001, rising to the rank of master sergeant and serving as a cargo specialist in Kuwait and Afghanistan, the Guard said.

A Facebook memorial page for the teacher had more than 10,000 "likes" by early Tuesday. Thousands more honored him on a "Rest Easy Mr. Landsberry" page.

Teacher killed in Nevada school shooting was 'good all-around guy'

Returning to a national debate

The Nevada shooting comes almost a year after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, igniting a nationwide debate over gun violence and school safety.

Since the Newtown shootings last December, proposed school security plans across the country have included arming teachers, adding armed security guards and bringing in bulletproof backpacks and white boards.

Some teachers have started taking self-defense and combat classes in case a shooter enters their school. One class teaches how to escape or take cover but focuses most of its four hours on how to fight and disarm an attacker -- something few educators have ever considered how to do.

Meanwhile, reports of school violence have continued.

Last week, a student at an Austin, Texas, high school killed himself in front of other students.

In August, a student at a high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, shot and wounded another student in the neck.

Another shooting took place at an Atlanta-area middle school in January, though no one was hit.

That same month, a California high school student wounded two people, one seriously.

Teachers train to face school shooters

The mother of a student killed in Newtown said Monday's shooting reinforces the need to find solutions to keep students safe.

"The unthinkable has happened yet again, this time in Sparks, Nevada," Nicole Hockley said in a written statement. "It's moments like this that demand that we unite as parents to find common sense solutions that keep our children -- all children -- safe, and prevent these tragedies from happening again and again."

But what those solutions are will remain fuel for ongoing debate.

CNN's Michelle Hall, Steve Almasy, Matt Smith, Jason Hanna, Stephanie Elam, Evan Perez, Amanda Watts, Chuck Johnston and Kim Segal contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
School shootings
What if police could pinpoint where a school shooter is? Some schools are betting on it as they install technology that will be wired to local law enforcement.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
After a shooting at an Oregon high school, many media outlets, including CNN, reported that there have been 74 school shootings in the past 18 months.
September 30, 2013 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
School security plans have changed to include arming teachers, adding police officers and armed security guards, and changing how schools are designed.
November 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Here is a list of incidents of random elementary, middle and high school (excludes colleges and universities) violence with fatalities, from 1927 to the present.
April 24, 2013 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Dr. Angela Sauaia intended to study the impact modernized playground equipment had on lowering children's injury rates. They ended up studying kids' injury rates from guns instead.
April 19, 2013 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Katie Lyles, who teaches third graders in Colorado, was a student at Columbine during the massacre 14 years ago.
May 1, 2013 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
What do you do with the guns in your house? This question appears to be one that parents are asking more often before sending their kids on play dates and sleepovers.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 0314 GMT (1114 HKT)
Opinion: Parents need to be proactive when it comes to their children's school security plans. Every parent should ask their school administrators the following questions.
September 13, 2013 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
When Nelba Marquez-Greene lost her 6-year-old daughter in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, she chose to cope with her loss in a unique way: by writing a letter.
August 17, 2013 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
A Maryland company that makes bulletproof whiteboards has contracted with a university seeking to offer its professors greater protection in the event of a school shooting.
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Along with math, science and social studies, gun safety could soon be part of the first-grade curriculum in some Missouri public schools.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1359 GMT (2159 HKT)
Some parents say recent school shootings confirm the need to protect children and teach them to defend themselves using guns.
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 2257 GMT (0657 HKT)
The Dunblane massacre, which killed 16 children and a teacher, stunned Scotland, but what did the UK do to try to prevent such a tragedy happening again?
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Opinion: The AAP says the best preventive measure against firearm injuries and deaths is not to own a gun. However, if you choose to have firearms in your home, adhere to these rules for gun safety.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1551 GMT (2351 HKT)
Federal law makes it illegal to sell or give a firearm to anyone who "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution" but private sellers and gun shows have no background check requirement.
February 27, 2013 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Nearly three-fourths of the nation's teachers say they personally would not bring a firearm to their school if allowed.
ADVERTISEMENT