SPARKS — A couple who lived next door to the seventh-grader who killed his teacher and shot two classmates outside their Nevada middle school before committing suicide says he was a well-behaved boy from a wonderful family.
“It was a shock,” Bill Williams told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “They were ideal people, good neighbors. You couldn’t have asked for better neighbors.”
Jose Reyes, 12, lived next door with his father, mother and siblings in the well-kept apartment complex a few blocks from Sparks Middle School. They moved out in the weeks before the Oct. 21 schoolyard shooting that claimed the life of veteran math teacher Michael Landsberry and wounded two other 12-year-old boys.
Williams said Reyes and his siblings seemed in good spirits whenever they saw them.
“The kids were immaculate all the time. They minded well. They were wonderful people, polite people. They’d do anything in the world for you,” he said. “They’d work and come home. They were very family-oriented. That’s why it was such a shock.”
Police said Reyes got the semi-automatic handgun at the residence where he was living that Monday morning, but they haven’t identified the parents or their address. Williams said the family had moved to another apartment complex in the area, but he didn’t know where.
The parents or another adult could face criminal charges if the ongoing investigation determines they knowingly allowed a minor to access an unsecured gun, police have said.
Landsberry’s widow said Wednesday that she sympathizes with the shooter’s family.
“That family is going to grieve just like we are,” Sharon Landsberry told NBC’s “Today” show. She said she knows her husband cared for Jose and doesn’t care what motivated the attack. “I’m sorry they’ve lost their son. And I know they’re hurting. Knowing why to me doesn’t matter.”
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 about three minutes and ended with Reyes turning the gun on himself.
Sparks Police Lt. Erick Thomas, the chief investigator, said officials 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.
“We are aware of the importance and scrutiny the case is under,” Thomas said. “We don’t want to taint any witness statements before it is thoroughly investigated.”