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Sparks school shooter’s father says gun wasn’t locked

SPARKS — The father of the 12-year-old boy who committed suicide after killing a math teacher and wounding two classmates at a Nevada middle school says the handgun his son used was kept in a case on a shelf above the kitchen refrigerator but wasn’t locked up.

Jose Reyes and his wife, Liliana, said they weren’t aware their son, Jose, knew where the 9 mm semi-automatic pistol was stored, but he somehow managed to find it.

“Above the fridge, two shelves — that’s where my wife put it,” the father told KRNV-TV on Tuesday. “Not locked, just in their cases.”

Reyes wouldn’t comment on a Sparks police investigation into whether criminal charges should be filed against any adult who knowingly made a firearm available to the boy. Police said earlier the boy obtained the weapon at his home but have refused further comment.

Under Nevada law, it is illegal to allow anyone under 18 to handle a gun without supervision. The offense rises to a felony if there was substantial risk the child would use the firearm to commit a violent act. However, the law doesn’t apply if the gun was in a securely locked container “or at a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure.”

Deputy Sparks Police Chief Tom Miller said in the days after the Oct. 21 schoolyard shooting that the seventh-grader brought the weapon with him to Sparks Middle School from his residence. He said any evidence that suggests a crime might have been committed will be turned over to the Washoe County district attorney’s office.

District Attorney Richard Gammick said he’ll review whether charges are appropriate if or when he’s presented a case, but he has had no further comment.

Police have been tight-lipped about anything they’ve learned in the more than two weeks that they’ve been investigating the shooting that claimed the life of Michael Landsberry, 45.

They’ve interviewed 20 to 30 students and others who witnessed the gunfire on an asphalt basketball court outside the school before classes began. But they’ve refused to comment on whether they’ve established a motive, or whether the boy was shooting randomly or targeting victims.

The boy’s parents said in a statement earlier this week their son had been teased about a speech problem but never showed signs he harbored any anger or resentment that could explain the attack that ended with him turning the gun on himself.

“We knew that he had been teased and that he was trying to work through his speech problem that he had,” they said. “We never heard Jose say anything bad or unkind about any particular teacher or students. We had no idea he was so upset and so troubled.”

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