While authorities continued to search for the motive behind Monday’s school shooting that left two people dead at a Sparks, Nevada middle school, one of the witnesses and her mother told CNN host Piers Morgan the unidentified gunman had been bullied by other schoolmates.
“I saw him getting bullied a couple of times,” Sparks Middle School student Amaya Newton told Morgan Monday night. “I think he took out his bullying on [the school].”
Newton’s mother, Tabitha Newton, corroborated her story, telling Morgan she knew the gunman personally and that she had told him about his being bullied.
“He was really a nice kid,” Amaya Newton told Morgan. “He would make you smile when you were having a bad day. He’d just ask you if he could buy you something. He was just really a nice kid.”
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that between 20 and 30 students witnessed the attack. Another witness, Michelle Hernandez, was quoted as saying she heard the gunman asking, “Why you people making fun of me? Why you laughing at me?”
According to NBC News,, the unidentified student was found dead at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He also shot and killed 45-year-old teacher and former Marine Corps member Michael Landsberry and wounded two other students, who were upgraded Monday afternoon to stable condition at a local hospital. Officials have not identified a motive for the attack.
Another witness, 13-year-old Kyle Nucum was quoted Monday morning as saying that Landsberry was shot after telling the gunman to put his weapon down.
Local police indicated that Landsberry, who celebrated his wedding anniversary on Oct. 18, did indeed put himself between the gunman and his fellow students before being killed.
“In my estimation, he is a hero,” Deputy Chief Tim Robinson told NBC.
Landsberry’s wife, Chanda Landsberry, told the Gazette-Journal she was not surprised to hear of his actions during the attack.
“He could have ducked and hid, but he didn’t,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s not who he is.”
Watch the Newtons’ interview with Morgan, as aired Monday on CNN, here.
And NBC News’ report on the shooting, also aired Monday, can be seen here.