SPARKS — After a deadly campus shooting, school district officials were examining an anti-bullying video on Thursday that includes a dramatization of a girl taking a gun on a school bus to scare aggressors and says it’s the wrong way to respond.
The video was being studied as students and faculty members prepared to return to Sparks Middle School, where 12-year-old Jose Reyes fatally shot a teacher, wounded two classmates and killed himself on Monday. Sparks City Attorney Chet Adams released the boy’s name Thursday after the Reno Gazette-Journal announced its plans to file a lawsuit.
Washoe County School District spokeswoman Victoria Campbell said school officials were examining the video but could not comment because it’s part of the broader investigation into the shooting just outside the school building about 5 miles northeast of downtown Reno.
Reno’s KRNV-TV reported that some students at the school said they watched the video, entitled “Bullying,” earlier this month. The station has broadcast excerpts.
Multiple students at the school told the Review-Journal on Monday and Tuesday that Reyes was the shooter, but the newspaper refused to report the name lacking official confirmation.
School district Police Chief Mike Mieras planned to address reporters later Thursday at the middle school, where students spent the day decorating the gymnasium with tributes to their beloved math teacher Michael Landsberry in preparation for the return to classes Monday.
“But he cannot discuss the video because it is part of the investigation,” Campbell said.
It wasn’t clear if the video had been seen by the gunman.
In a news release, Sparks spokesman Adam Mayberry said the name of the seventh-grader was released in “order to be fair to all the families involved and all the news media.”
But he said Adams’s acknowledgement of a Univision Spanish language news story on the shooting earlier Thursday was “misinterpreted” by reporters.
Adams was not identifying Reyes as the suspected shooter, according to Mayberry. But once that story was out and picked up by other media, the decision was made to identify the shooter.
On Wednesday, Adams had cited state laws that he said prevented him from releasing the shooter’s identity because the investigation was continuing and because the suspect was a juvenile.
But Barry Smith, the executive director of the Nevada Press Association, maintained releasing Reyes’ identity would not have any effect on an investigation. He said all media sought was the name of a dead person, and there is no law preventing the release of the name of someone who dies.
Then on Thursday, the Gazette-Journal announced it would file a lawsuit against Sparks if the shooter’s identity was not released. A few hours later, the name came out.
School Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in an extensive mass email to all district parents that school officials are reaching out to provide counseling and other services. Parents were encouraged to do the same.
“It is difficult to imagine something of this nature happening in our own community and impacting us so closely,” Martinez said.
“We know we will be feeling many emotions as we struggle to understand and cope with this incident,” he wrote.
Landsberry, 45, was an ex-Marine who coached basketball and soccer and was known as a big fan of Batman.
In his email, Martinez outlined a variety of resources available to families, including a crisis call center and the Northern Nevada Mental Health Services.
It was sent Wednesday night while hundreds of students and others gathered at a candlelight vigil outside the school, where community leaders and clergy offered prayers and words of encouragement.
Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church Pastor Howard Dotson led students in a pledge to “be a peacemaker.”
“There is nothing glorious or sexy about guns,” they repeated after him. “I want to learn and grow old and have many children.”
Meanwhile, the mother of one of the wounded boys told reporters she’s committed to helping promote gun safety in the community, and her son said he used to think of guns as a toy, but not anymore.
Jenifer Davis said it’s a “miracle” that her 12-year-old son, Mason Kamerer, survived the shooting.
“As a result of this incident, I will be getting involved with issues around gun safety in the hopes of preventing this kind of situation in the future,” said Davis, who said she has owned guns and always kept them locked but will be even more proactive in the future.
Kamerer told CNN he heard what sounded like distant gunfire then spotted Landsberry lying motionless on the ground before he found himself within 10 to 20 feet of the shooter, who said nothing before firing a single shot.
Review-Journal Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel contributed to this report.