Sparks Police Department officials reported two were dead and two others were in critical condition at Renown Regional Medical Center Monday morning after a shooting at Sparks Middle School.
Tom Miller, acting police chief for Sparks PD, said preliminary information showed no outstanding suspects. The school was deemed clear and safe at about 9 a.m., according to Lt. Chad Hawkins of SPD. Law enforcement officials said the shooter was “neutralized.”
“At this time we are doing a slow, methodical search and getting ready to move into an investigative mode,” Hawkins said, adding that about a dozen witnesses were available for statements.
Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras said during a morning press conference one of the deceased was a Sparks Middle School staff member and the other “appears to be a student/suspect in this case.” Mieras said one of the wounded students was out of surgery and in recovery and the other was in stable condition.
Early reports from the Reno Police Department said the faculty member who was shot and killed was “trying to intervene,” and no evidence suggested multiple suspects. All students involved were middle school-aged and in seventh or eighth grade.
Mieras said Sparks Middle School students were moved to Sparks High School and parent notification had already begun to get students home. Counseling efforts were also in place at Sparks High for kids and families, and he added that Agnes Risley Elementary School was closed for the day as well.
Sparks Middle School will be closed for the remainder of the week.
Parents seeking information or counseling are encouraged to call 789-3804, 789-3802 or 333-3786.
Reno Police Department Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said the cooperation of the law enforcement agencies helped secure the scene quickly.
“It takes a tragedy like this to realize the importance and appreciate public safety,” Robinson said. “ We have anywhere from 150 to 200 uniformed and undercover personnel immediately after the threat began.”
Robinson said Sparks PD will be the primary investigators in the case, but all agencies will be working together on it. Robinson said off-duty personnel have been called in to patrol schools and the surrounding community making up for the amount of officers on scene.
Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez addressed the devastation to the school community and its families. He thanked the police agencies for their timely response and execution in getting children to safety.
“This is just a very sad day for us, a very tragic day,” Martinez said. “We will be working with our children, our parents and our police to get through this day. I want to thank the community for coming together behind this tragedy.”
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini gave his condolences to the community and stressed that the city is safe despite the fatal shooting.
“It’s a sad day in the City of Sparks,” Martini said. “Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected. I want to reiterate that the city itself is very safe. This is just an isolated incident.
“I don’t believe this is any kind of spree. It’s very, very tragic. Everyone was very good in coming together to help us respond to this tragic day.”
Barbara Clark, president of the WCSD Board of Trustees, was saddened as she spoke about student safety throughout the district. She said the Board was helping police in every way possible and interventions were in place for students and families.
She added that Gov. Brian Sandoval had called to express his sympathy in the matter, saying a heartfelt sentiment was sent to the community.
Read more: Sparks Tribune - Two dead two wounded at Sparks Middle School