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Schools chief: No evidence Sparks Middle School shooter was bullied

RENO — There’s no evidence a seventh-grader was bullied before he fatally shot a teacher and wounded two classmates at Sparks Middle School last month, according to the Washoe County schools superintendent.

Jose Reyes, 12, killed math teacher Michael Landsberry with a semi-automatic handgun outside the school on Oct. 21 before taking his own life.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez told KTVN-TV that “there was nothing in our official records about bullying for this child, whether at the elementary school or the middle school. Even the parents recently said there was no indication from what they saw.”

The parents, Jose and Liliana Reyes, last week used the word “teased” to describe what their son faced over a speech problem but said he never showed signs of harboring anger or resentment that could help explain the schoolyard shooting.

Their attorney, Kent Robison, had said Reyes was teased at school and even saw a counselor.

Some students have said bullying played a role in the shooting, but police said they have no evidence of that and have refused to comment about anything that might have provoked the attack.

The parents of the two 12-year-olds who are from gunshot wounds have said they don’t believe their children were targeted in the attack on the asphalt basketball court 15 minutes before the morning bell.

Stacey Cooper, principal of Sparks Middle School, is now on leave, school district officials said.

Asked why she was on leave, district officials said in a statement: “We continue to focus on the healing and recovery process and ensuring our staff and students at Sparks Middle School have all the support they need during this difficult time.

“This consists of working with several staff members to address their requests and needs. This includes Ms. Cooper, who is currently away from the school to address her needs.”

District officials also said messages of support continue to pour into the school from across the country.

Students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., sent prayer shawls, while Columbine High School in Colorado sent a banner bearing signatures of its students.

Both of those schools were the scenes of high-profile fatal shootings.

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