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SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 97

 

Shooting in Reno

8th Grader with a Gun

 

Let's Stop the violence! 

See how KEYS can help!!

Assessing the Potentially Dangerous Student TtT

March 14, 2006, Reno, NV

 Two Wounded As 8th Grader Fires Randomly

 One boy was shot in the upper arm and chest and was treated and released from Washoe Medical Center. A girl received a superficial wound to the leg from shrapnel and was treated at the scene.  

The shooter, James Scott Newman, was arrested and a .38 caliber handgun was recovered. He is now in custody as an adult in lieu of $150,000 bond. Newman is charged with attempted murder. 

He allegedly brought the gun to Pine Middle School with the intent of using it but apparently fired at the two victims randomly. Investigators do not know how or where he obtained the gun. More than a dozen students and others witnessed the shooting outside the school cafeteria just before 9 a.m., police said.  

Investigators were withholding the names of the victims -- both eighth graders -- and the teacher who intervened to persuade the shooter to drop the gun.

Steve Mulvenon, spokesman for the Washoe County School District, said the teacher had requested that her name not be released. 

The teacher was in a nearby room when she heard three shots fired. She came out into the hallway and confronted him as he was standing in the hallway holding this gun. She verbally challenged him to put the gun down. She empathized with him, tried to be understanding and de-escalated the situation. She was successful in having him place his gun on the ground. She then hugged him until help arrived. 

The school was placed in lock down for about an hour before classes were canceled for the day.

"I was scared," said Luke Riley, a student at the school.

"It was weird because we heard gunshots and there was so much chaos. I didn't know what to expect," he told KTVN-TV in Reno.

Students were prohibited from calling out on their cellular phones but some traded text messages with their parents. Andrew Smagala, 12, told the Reno Gazette-Journal he was unaware of the shooting until his mother sent him a text message at school.

Students were taken home either by bus or released into the custody of a parent or guardian, district officials said.

"Some people were crying," said Jamie Coombs, who was in her math class at the time.

"They made us stay in the classroom and bolt the door and put papers up against the windows," she told KOLO-TV.

Police believe the shooting appeared to be "random in nature" because the two students shot had no relationship with the suspected gunman. "He had never been involved in any dispute or argument with them," the spokesman said.

"It appears he decided to engage in school violence. He brought a gun to school today and randomly targeted these two students. He brought it to school today in a plan that he was going to commit violence," he said.

School was on a delayed start because of snow and officials said not all students had arrived at the time of the incident.

Once again the question surfaces: “Why didn’t we see this coming?” Is there nothing a school can do to prevent or to prepare for such incidents? What if this had been your school? What have done to prepare or prevent such tragedies? Was confrontation the right thing to do? What is your school’s policy on confrontation, lock down, parent/student reunification? If you have doubts, contact Keys today for answers.

If you are not sure if your school has a plan or policy or if you are not sure your school has adequate training in prevention and preparedness, contact Keys To Safer Schools.com today for assistance from the Multi-disciplinary Team.

Keys To Safer Schools.com can provide the training to your school to establish  programs such as:

 +++++++UPDATE+++++

March 17, 2006 les than 24 hours after the shooting officials are learning that the shooting was not as random as first thought. The shooter was being "made fun of" on a regular basis by other students. He planned the shooting for over a week. He had drawings and threats inside his locker. He was transfer student.

All of these are clues that were available before hand if only there was a method of collecting, reporting and assessing.

 

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