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.
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
Keys To Safer Schools.com can provide
the training to your school to establish programs such as:
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.
of these are clues that were available before hand if only there was a
method of collecting, reporting and assessing.
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