Ryan Heber is being recognized as a hero as news gets out that he is reportedly the teacher who brought an end to the Taft Union High School shooting Thursday morning in Taft, Calif., despite being hit in the head by a shotgun pellet.
Heber, a science teacher at the school, reportedly joined a Taft campus supervisor in calmly talking the unnamed 16-year-old shooter into putting his gun down, after which he was arrested, according to the Bakersfield Californian.
But he wasn't able to do so before getting hit in the head by a shotgun pellet, officials said, according to the Daily Mail, and the Bakersfield 23 local ABC affiliate reported that the injury was minor enough that he refused medical treatment.
Who is this man who was able to accomplish what no one could do in Columbine, Colo.; Newtown, Conn.; and many other towns where school shootings led to the deaths of multiple students?
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Twenty-year-old Meghan King told the Californian that Heber "always knew how to make you feel better," and that she was not shocked to hear that he kicked into high gear and stopped an emergency situation from escalating into yet another American school massacre.
Taft Police Chief Ed Whiting hailed Heber's heroism in remarks that were also reported by the Californian:
“We really want to commend a teacher and campus supervisor who brought this to a fast resolution,” Whiting said.
Upon initiating a conversation with the student gunman, Heber and the campus supervisor got him to say he didn't want to shoot them, and then to put the gun down, after which the police arrested him, the Californian reported. The student had been convinced by Heber to put down the gun before the first Taft police officers even got to the scene.
The first cop on the scene found that the student had already been disarmed.
“The actions that he (the teacher) took saved lives and protected many," U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of Bakersfield, said of Heber at a press coference attended by the Californian.
And Heber's father is apparently fond of his son as well:
"His students like him a whole bunch," David Heber told the Californian. "He's not the kind of teacher a student would try to hurt. He's definitely someone who could talk a kid down in an emergency."
Heber is married to a fellow Taft Union High School teacher, Emmy Lou Heber, and photos on her Facebook profile suggest that they have two young sons.