Teacher killed in Nevada school shooting honored

Nov 4, 2013, 3:33 AM

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) – A Nevada math teacher killed by a 12-year-old student in a school-yard shooting that also wounded two students was remembered for his character, selfless acts and military service at a memorial service Sunday.

Speakers hailed Michael Landsberry for trying to talk the shooter into turning over the semi-automatic handgun before the youth shot him in the chest as students arrived for class Oct. 21 at Sparks Middle School.

Gov. Brian Sandoval told the crowd of more than 1,000 that the 45-year-old former Marine was a devoted husband, father, military member and teacher who made “the ultimate sacrifice so his students might live.”

“This tragedy is one we’ll all struggle to understand,” the governor said. “What is conclusive is his selfless acts to give his life so others might live … By his actions, he has inspired us all to do all we can for our fellow man.”

Brig. Gen. William Burks of the Nevada National Guard said the core values of honor, courage, commitment and integrity that Landsberry learned as a Marine and Nevada Air National Guardsman were “on display in the school yard” when he walked calmly to the shooter and gave other students a chance to flee.

“He still lived his life by his core values, and he certainly did (the day of the shooting),” Burks said. “Once a Marine, always a Marine. By any and all standards, Master Sgt. Michael Landsberry … was an enormous success.”

Police are investigating the shooting that began about 15 minutes before the morning bell on the asphalt basketball court outside the school. The attack lasted only about three minutes and ended with student Jose Reyes turning the gun on himself. The boy got the gun at home.

Police investigators are interviewing witnesses and don’t want to release any preliminary information, including a possible motive. Parents of the two wounded boys have said they don’t believe their children were singled out.

Landsberry’s wife of five years, Sharon, and his two stepdaughters, Andrea and Alisa, spoke about his love of family, life and teaching. He was an “impassioned” teacher and mentor whose main goal was to enable the success of his students, his widow said.

“Mike found a way to adapt and overcome, and he found a way to reach each student,” Sharon Landsberry said. “What gave him the most satisfaction was seeing a light go on when a student suddenly got it.”

Pedro Martinez, superintendent of the Washoe County School District, said Landsberry could have worked at any school but he chose to teach at one of the Reno area’s “highest-poverty” middle schools because he knew he was needed there.

“He touched their lives every day,” he said. “I want to thank Michael not only for what he did that day (of the shooting), but for what he did every day in the classroom. He helped students realize their dreams and know that he was there for them.”

Martinez and Landsberry friends also talked about the teacher’s passion for Batman, Star Wars, sports, history books and video games. “He humbled himself to his children and the children saw how real he was,” Martinez said.

Chaplain Tim Gregory of the Nevada National Guard said he thinks the “greatest story” to be taken from Landsberry’s life is to “find something to die for and then live for it.”

Landsberry received full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, during the emotional two-hour celebration of life at Sparks Christian Fellowship. An American flag that draped his casket was presented to his widow.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
13 hours ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
2 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
2 days ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
2 days ago
FILE - An employee works in the battery assembly hall at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., ...
Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession. Thursday’s estimate from the Commerce Department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of economic output — […]
2 days ago
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)...
Associated Press

Pope Francis discusses his health, critics and future of papacy

In his first interview since the death of retired Pope Benedict XVI, Francis tells The Associated Press he plans to continue for as long as he can as bishop of Rome
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Teacher killed in Nevada school shooting honored