Nightly News   |  October 22, 2013

Brother of hero teacher: ‘It’s sickening’

Reggie Landsberry, brother of the beloved math teacher who was shot and killed by a 12-year-old middle school student in Sparks, Nev., said that as unlucky as the incident was, it could have been a lot worse if Michael Landsberry wasn’t there. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> good evening. tonight we're hearing about what happened just as word arrived of the latest school shooting in this country, including how it is that a 12-year-old brought a gun to a middle school in sparks, nevada . and the story of the teacher being praised as a hero. a u.s. marine , who approached the young gunman and paid for it with his life, according to the witnesses there. 911 calls and other evidence is helping tonight, as we piece together the evidence and the story of what happened here. nbc's joe fryer starts us off tonight from sparks, nevada . joe , good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. police are still trying to figure out why a 7th grader showed up here at sparks middle school and started shooting. investigators want to figure out if there is any connection between the suspect and the victims. meanwhile, police say one of those victims, a popular math teacher, actually sacrificed his own life to save others. from beginning to end, police say the shooting spree lasted just three minutes.

>> can you please send police out here? there's a kid with a gun.

>> reporter: for the many witnesses who saw it unfold, it felt much longer.

>> i have a victim on the basketball court , left side.

>> reporter: students were arriving for class outside sparks middle school yesterday, when police say a 12-year-old boy started shooting. investigators say he got tthe .9 millimeter semiautomatic handgun from his home but the moat it active remains a mystery.

>> everybody wants to know why. that's the big question. the answer is, we don't know right now.

>> reporter: police say the suspect first shot one student in the shoulder and joseca sayers feared he was next.

>> he was aiming his gun right at my chest, and i looked at the gun, and my chest, like he's going to shoot me.

>> reporter: jose told matt lauer , he ran away as math teacher, mike lands berry calmly approached the suspect.

>> he was telling him to stop and put the gun down. and then the kid, he yelled out "no" like yelling at him and then he shot him.

>> reporter: the suspect wounded one more student before taking his own life. landsberry, a marine veteran, who was still active in nevada 's national guard , died at the scene. but police say he gave other kids time to escape, which doesn't surprise his little brother, reggie.

>> it is unlucky. you know? dog gone, it's sickening. but in hindsight, thank goodness mike was there. because it could have been a lot worse.

>> thank you. i'm sorry.

>> oh, thank you so much.

>> reporter: today, reggie landsberry got a personal thank you from jose and his mother.

>> i'm glad you're safe.

>> thank you.

>> i'm glad you're okay.

>> reporter: tonight, sparks middle school remains closed as students add to a growing memorial for their teacher. students called him "batman" for his love of the comic book character, but in the end they say it was landsberry himself who proved to be a super hero . and police say the two students who were shot and survived it continue to recover tonight. brian?

>> joe fryer, covering the sadness there in sparks, nevada tonight. joe , thanks.