The parents of the Nevada school shooter could now be held liable for the actions of their son, reports Reuters via Yahoo! News on Oct. 22. One day after a 12-year-old opened fire in Sparks Middle School in Nevada, killing a teacher and injuring two other students, police have openly questioned bringing charges against the parents for allowing the boy access to the weapon.
The Nevada school shooter, dressed like any other student at Sparks Middle School with his required school uniform of khaki pants and a Sparks sweatshirt, took a Ruger 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun from his home and used it to gun down mathematics teacher Michael Landsberry and injure two other boys.
The shooter then turned the gun on himself, killing himself in front of approximately 30 terrified fellow classmates and teachers.
For its part, Nevada is one of 27 states that does not have legislative intervention laws, known as Child Access Prevention, which attempts to regulate firearm injuries caused by children by limiting their access to weapons. Nevada, like 12 other states, prohibits only “intentional, knowing, or reckless provision of firearms to minors.”
However, Sparks Deputy Police Chief Tom Miller said a determination will have to be made whether to press charges against the parents of the unnamed boy, assuming the gun came from their home as is thought.
“That is basically a question for the local prosecutor, but the potential is there,” Miller said.
The Los Angeles Times interviewed some of the other fellow seventh and eighth graders at Sparks Middle School, and suggested that the shooter may have been bullied.
“The 12-year-old boy pointed the weapon at about 30 terrified students huddled in a corner near an outdoor school basketball court early Monday. He locked eyes with eighth-grader Omar Lopez, who was nearby,” the Times reported.
“You guys ruined my life, so I'm going to ruin yours,” Omar said his classmate told him. “He looked like he was going to cry. He said it in an angry and crying voice.”
One girl, speaking through tears, said she was the shooter’s friend and had witnessed the bullying firsthand.
“Once I saw people push him in the hallway,” said an eighth grader Margielle Stewart. “He was really nice. He would always make a smile on your face.”
“I thought he was going to kill me,” Omar recalled. “Because when he said, ‘I'll ruin yours,’ in my mind, that ran through my head and I thought, oh, by ruining my life he was just going to kill me.”
The shooter waved his gun at the group of students gathered outside before classes began. Moments earlier, he had shot teacher Michael Landsberry in the chest after Landsberry walked up to him and attempted to get the shooter to lay down his weapon.
Mike Mieras, chief of police of the Washoe County School District, said Landsberry’s actions bought time for the other students to escape.
“Mr. Landsberry calmly walked toward the shooter, putting his hands up in a motion to try to stop the individual's actions,” Mieras said. “Mr. Landsberry's heroic actions, by stepping toward the shooter, allowed time for other students on that playground area to flee.”
Investigators are actively searching to answer the questions everyone is asking – Why would, and how could, a 12-year-old commit such a horrible crime?
“Everybody wants to know why. That's the big question,” Chief Miller said. “The answer is, we don't know right now. We are proactively trying to determine why.”