More police planned at Nev. school after shooting
Students returning to school for the first time since last week's shooting will be greeted by extra police officers
By Scott Sonner and Martin Griffith
SPARKS, Nev. — Students returning to classes at a Nevada middle school on Monday for the first time since a fatal schoolyard shooting a week ago will be greeted by extra police officers but few other changes, with one big exception:
Michael Landsberry, the beloved math teacher and athletic coach they say combined the toughness of an ex-Marine with the compassion of a caring educator, won't be there.
"It's going to be weird not seeing him yelling at students and telling them to tuck in their shirts," said Micah Crooks, 13, an eighth-grader at Sparks Middle School in a working class neighborhood about 5 miles northeast of downtown Reno.
Landsberry was fatally shot in the chest last Monday by Jose Reyes, a 12-year-old seventh-grader who also wounded two classmates before taking his own life with a semi-automatic handgun on the asphalt basketball court outside the school with about 600 students.
Police say Reyes got the gun from his home, which could subject his parents to prosecution. But investigators say they haven't determined a motive yet, and don't know whether Reyes was shooting randomly or targeting victims when the rampage began about 7:15 a.m.
The parents of two 12-year-olds recovering successfully from gunshot wounds said they don't believe their children were targeted in the attack 15 minutes before the morning bell.
Tyler Waldman, 13, said he noticed Landsberry standing near the school that sunny, crisp autumn morning when everyone started running away and a friend told him "a student has a gun."
"I heard a pop and saw him fall down," said Waldman, who was in Landsberry's seventh-grade math class last year.
Some students speculated that bullying may have played a role in the shooting, but police said they have no evidence of that and have refused to comment about anything that might have provoked the attack.
Heather Waldman, Tyler's mother, said she thinks Reyes didn't get the attention he needed.
"It must have been a parenting problem," she said. "Why didn't they listen to him? He must have been so lost. If a child brings a gun to school, he's not being listened to at home."
Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras wouldn't specify numbers but said to expect an increased police presence when students return to classes Monday morning.
"We are going to have some additional officers, some additional staff, additional counseling," he said.
Angel Veja, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, said he expects a subdued mood at the school on Monday.
"I think it is going to be a little quiet," Veja said. "It was like a bad dream. You never think it's going to happen at your school."
Kevin Valdez, a fifth-grader at neighboring Agnes Risley Elementary, said the shooting shook students' sense of security.
"School is supposed to be a safe place," Valdez said. "What more evidence is needed to show that we need to stop guns from being in public areas? More lives are going to be lost if we don't do something about guns."
Mieras said school staff will be working with the district's emergency manager to re-evaluate whether any changes are needed in response. Some students said they were locked outside the school when an automatic lockdown went into effect upon reports of a gunman firing shots outside the school.
Mieras said that would be part of the review but declined further comment, other than to say there had been no talk about placing metal detectors at the school entrances.
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