Michael Landsberry, 45, a popular math teacher at Sparks Middle School in Nevada, is the hero who was fatally shot by a student today while preventing a far greater tragedy.
Two people were killed, including the shooter, and two student victims were hospitalized.
Shortly after the incident, students began tweeting their memories of “Mr. Landsberry.”
And a source at the school soon confirmed he was the victim.
School source: Michael Landsberry ID'd as staff member fatally shot at Sparks Middle School in Nevada Monday morning.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) October 21, 2013
Here’s what we know Mr. Landsberry and his amazing act of courage.
1. He Was a Popular & Beloved 8th Grade Math Teacher & Coach
I'll always remember all the stuff you did for me, I'll never forget you Mr.Landsberry pic.twitter.com/aJ7ZUBiAAU
— Yessenia (@AyoYesenia__) October 21, 2013
According to the school’s website, Landsberry was an eighth grade math teacher. He was known as a fun-loving mentor; one student remarked on Twitter that before tests, he would tell students: “Let the force be with you.”
Another ex-student of Sparks said Landsberry was also the school’s basketball coach.
Many students noted in their grief that Mr. Landsberry was already regarded as a hero in the school before his actions today.
Rest in paradise mr.landsberry
— Alex ツ (@aleexbabe_) October 21, 2013
I really hope It's not Landsberry he's a real good guy, and a great coach
— Christian Ramirez (@god_ohh_god) October 21, 2013
Damn I cant believe my favorite teacher died today :( RIP Mr. Landsberry
— Erik Garcia (@Erikgarcia93) October 21, 2013
2. He Was a Former Marine
In addition to being a former U.S. Marine who served in Afghanistan and attained the rank of corporal, Landsberry was also a member of the Nevada Air National Guard.
The Guard released this photo:
Landsberry’s Facebook page, which has been disabled, featured frequent postings highlighting his pride in being a Marine.
A new tribute page to Landsberry includes many references to his love for teaching, but also his honor as a Marine:
He studied elementary education at the University of Reno, graduating in 2000. He attended high-school in the Reno area at Robert McQueen high.
3. He Was a Loving, Married Family Man
According to Facebook, Michael was married to Sharon Landsberry. They just celebrated their anniversary on October 18:
Here’s a heartbreaking message that his stepdaughter — one of two stepdaughters he treated as his own — posted recently on Facebook:
4. He Had a Cool Website for His Students
Landsberry had a website where he told students what to expect in his class.
The tone is humorous, including this line:
I have one classroom rule and it is very simple:
“Thou Shall Not Annoy Mr. L.”
You are asking yourself what annoys me, it depends on any given day. Just like you I have good days and bad days. What may bother me one day may not the next. A very good skill to learn is reading people and their moods.
These photos appear in the Grading Policy section of his site:
According to this Transparent Nevada page, Landsberry’s compensation was $58,744.66, plus benefits.
5. He Died a Hero
A disgruntled student, reportedly wearing his Sparks Middle School uniform, came to school with a gun this morning just after 7 a.m. local time.
Friends say he had been bullied. Witnesses report that before opening fire, the boy said something along the lines of, “My life is over,” “Why you people making fun of me?” and “Why are you laughing at me?”
Landsberry sprang into action — attempting to take the gun — and paid the price, likely preventing a far greater tragedy.
@katelyn_m830 news says Mr. Landsberry came towards the kid to get the gun away and he fired at him leaving him critically injured:(
— Katherine Calkins (@kat_calkins) October 21, 2013
The family of Sparks Middle School teacher Michael Landsberry said it was no surprise that he acted as a hero and tried to stop the shooter
— MarthaBellisle (@marthabellisle) October 21, 2013
"@AyoYesenia__: Mr.Landsberry always told me he's not afraid of a fight, that he'll do anything to protect the people he loved"
— m a r l e n e . (@_marlenedee) October 21, 2013
If Mr. Landsberry wanted to be recognized as anything, it'd be a hero, which is exactly what he is
— Lizmariee (@lizzy_boo23) October 21, 2013