The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 23, 2013

Dozens of witnesses, no motive yet in NV shooting

Shooter acted alone, motive unclear

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) — Police were interviewing dozens of students who witnessed the schoolyard killing of a teacher and wounding of two classmates as investigators tried to unravel the mystery of what motivated a 12-year-old to open fire before turning the gun on himself on an asphalt basketball court.

Law officers have confirmed the shooter acted alone, but little else two days after Sparks Middle School veteran math teacher Michael Landsberry was gunned down 15 minutes before school was to begin Monday, Sparks Police Lt. Erick Thomas told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"We're still investigating how this all happened. We are investigating the motives, all the facts and circumstances that both led up to it and were involved in it," he said.

"It's a very complicated investigation as far as the number of witnesses and the seriousness of the crime," he added.

Thomas, the lead investigator in the case which also involves Reno police and Washoe County School District police, said he couldn't comment on some reports from fellow students that bullying may have played a role in the shooting.

"I can't release any information on any provocation or anything like that," he said.

Adding to the mystery surrounding the case is the fact that police have refused to release the identity of the shooter.

The Reno Gazette-Journal published an editorial calling for police to immediately identify the 12-year-old so the circumstances that led to the shooting might be better understood. To do otherwise was a violation of state law, the newspaper said.

Media organizations, including The Associated Press, have filed formal public record requests for police to identify the shooter.

Sparks public information officer Adam Mayberry said he expected city officials to release a statement later Wednesday explaining why they have refused to release the name of the shooter despite increased pressure from media and criticism from the public.

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