The parents of the shooter who killed a teacher and wounded two classmates at Sparks Middle School in Nevada may face criminal charges stemming from the incident.
While Washoe County Assistant District Attorney John Helzer would not address the possibility of criminal charges against the unnamed shooter’s parents, the Reno Gazette-Journal cited a Nevada law that might point to a criminal case.
Investigators said yesterday that they believed that the gun used in the shooting, a Ruger semi-automatic handgun, came from the suspect’s home.
"Somebody brought a gun to school that shot a teacher," said Tom Miller, deputy chief of the Sparks Police Department, according to WLS.
The law that may apply in this case is Nevada Revised Statues 202.300. The Gazette-Journal said the law would be a misdemeanor if a child gets a gun from a home unless it was “stored in a securely locked container or at a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure" or unless the child or someone else broke into the place where the gun was stored.
Lawyer Mark Geragos explained how the decision whether to file criminal charges against the shooter’s parents will be made.
"Did they knowingly permit their child to have access to this weapon? If there is enough circumstantial evidence ... then it's entirely likely that they could charge the parents criminally," he said, according to WLS.
Authorities did not release the name of the shooter in the Sparks Middle School shooting out of respect for the child’s grieving parents, although they did say he was 12 years old and in the seventh grade.
Popular math teacher Michael Landsberry was killed and two students were injured in the Monday morning shooting that ended when the gunman turned the gun on himself.
Landsberry was a former Marine and member of the Army National Guard. Tributes to the teacher, who also coached boys’ basketball and girls’ volleyball, flooded in on Facebook through the Remembering Mr. Michael Landsberry page.
The teacher was hailed as a hero who saved lives by walking toward the shooter and trying to get the student to drop the gun. His actions allowed students to leave the area.
“I just want everyone to know how A.W.E.S.O.M.E and brave this man was. He saved my Jojo's life (my son) and some of Jojo's friends lives [Monday,]” wrote parent Mari Cazares. “The shooter again was aiming at my son and his friends and as Mr. Landsberry stood in front of them shielding them from the worst. The shooter took this teacher's life as Mr. Landsberry shielded and gave time for our kids to get to safety. He is a true H.E.R.O in my book and always will be!♥ Rest in peace Mr. Landsberry. Our condolences to all the victims involved and their families.”