Teacher kills himself at school

A 58-year-old teacher fatally shot himself Monday afternoon at Western High School, Clark County School District police said.

Lt. Ken Young, a school police spokesman, said school staff heard one gunshot about 2:30 p.m. School was not in session Monday.

Officers who responded to the call from the campus on Bonanza Road, east of Decatur Boulevard, found the teacher, whose name was not released by authorities.

"We don’t have any specifics as to why he may have taken the action that he did," said Young, who added that it was fortunate that school was not in session at the time of the shooting.

District sources who asked not to be identified said the deceased man is science teacher Michael Roberts.

The district confirmed that a teacher named Michael Roberts, 58, teaches science at Western. He was hired Aug. 12, 2009.

Young said grief counselors were at the campus Monday speaking to school employees.

"As you can imagine, it’s a pretty traumatic experience for our staff members," Young said.

Employees were on campus for staff development Monday. It’s likely most employees were gone by 1 p.m., or before the shooting occurred, district spokesman Michael Rodriguez said.

Staff development is scheduled again for today , but Rodriguez did not know whether Western would proceed as planned.

Young said classes will resume for students on Wednesday.

Sources said Roberts had met with an administrator before he shot himself in the school’s outdoor quad. One source said he shot himself in the head. With the exception of law enforcement, it is against district policy for staff and students to bring firearms on campus.

Western students on campus for extracurricular activities on Monday were stunned by the shooting. Freshman Joe Jackson said he was saddened by Roberts’ death, but he wasn’t surprised that the teacher may have taken his own life.

Jackson said Roberts seemed "high strung," and a few weeks ago had yelled at his principles of science class pretty badly because students wouldn’t keep quiet. Jackson, who was in the class, also said Roberts threw a table during the episode.

"He had anger management issues," Jackson said.

Two women who answered the door at Roberts’ North Las Vegas home, near Decatur and Washburn Road, declined to comment. One woman was in tears.

A neighbor who didn’t want to give his name said Roberts was a nice guy who had recently moved to the neighborhood.

This is the second recent high-profile death of a teacher in the district.

Eldorado High School science teacher Timothy VanDerbosch was killed Oct. 20 after being beaten and robbed.

Las Vegas police have not yet identified the assailants who attacked VanDerbosch, 50. After the attack, police believe VanDerbosch was hit by a passing motorist while lying unconscious in the street.

VanDerbosch later died at University Medical Center.

Police said VanDerbosch was one of 11 victims beaten and robbed Oct. 20 by the same group of suspects in the east and northeast valley.

In January 2005, a district teacher attempted suicide at Green Valley High School. The teacher stabbed himself in the abdomen in an empty classroom and was discovered by a colleague. He survived his injuries.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Reporter James Haug contributed to this report.

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