Gun violence took its next victim in Sparks Middle School, Nevada.
On Oct. 21 a 12-year-old boy, Jose Reyes, brought his parents’ handgun to school. He wounded two of his classmates, killed a math teacher and eventually took his own life.
Police confirmed that all shots were fired outside on the playground. The shooter first fired at a fellow student, hitting him in the shoulder and seconds later shot another in the abdomen. He then shot teacher Mike Landsberry. Landsberry distracted the shooter so students could run away— resulting in his death. The shooter’s body was eventually found with a gun on the basketball court with a self-inflicted headshot wound.
Though the boy’s motives were not clear, police chief of Sparks, Tom Miller, thought, “He took out his bullying.” Students running away from the playground reported the shooter was shouting, “Why are you laughing at me? Why are you doing this to me?'”
Many were surprised by Jose’s actions, as he was seen as a “nice kid”. He was considered the exact opposite of the typical shooter profile. Public opinion indicates the shooter profile is one of a outsider with a predilection for violence, and history of abuse.
Despite that there are few consistent signs in a personality to look for (as people with mental illnesses are often non-violent), the only common trait in a profile is that shooters may do something alarming and erratic before launching an attack.
The motives behind the shooting are still unknown. Many are speculating why the shooter would choose this date, almost a year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that rocked the nation. Evidence seems to suggest it was due to bullying.
Faith Ebans, a fellow student of the shooter, said, “I saw kids pushing him around and doing lots of mean things to him, I guess one day he got tripped and my friends said ‘trip them back.'” Ebans noted that instead of tripping them back he instead “just decided to shoot them.”
Mason, a friend of Jose’s that survived a shot to his abdomen, stated, “he wasn’t aware of any bullying” and continued to say,”I don’t think he was bullied at all.” According to Mason, Reyes was “nice but sometimes started arguments with people he disagreed with….I saw him doing a lot of it at school.”
The gun used in the Sparks shooting is believed to have come from the family’s home. If the gun’s origin is traced to the boy’s home, authorities may press charges against the parents.
In 2013 alone there have been six school shootings, not including the Sparks shooting. Most recently in Austin, Texas, a student killed himself at his high school in front of fellow students.
No doubt this shooting will be added to fuel the campaign for gun control and to end gun violence—and the debate on gun control will rage on.