RENO — The parents of a Sparks boy who killed a teacher and wounded two classmates at his middle school said Monday that 12-year-old Jose Reyes had been teased about a speech problem but never showed signs he harbored any anger or resentment that could help explain the schoolyard shooting that ended with his suicide.
“We knew that he had been teased and that he was trying to work through his speech problem that he had,” Jose Reyes, the father, read in a statement alongside his wife, Liliana, at their lawyer’s office.
“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,” they said in a 3.5-minute videotaped statement that the Reno Gazette-Journal first posted to its website Monday afternoon (http://tinyurl.com/lsls6sx ).
The father opened by expressing sympathy to the wife and family of the 45-year-old math teacher killed, Michael Landsberry, and two 12-year-old boys injured in the shooting at Sparks Middle School on Oct. 21.
“We are sorry for all this happening,” he said, adding that they knew their seventh-grade son as a “good student .... a good boy, who loved his family” and often made them proud.
“It has been a horrible experience knowing that our son killed another person and injured fellow students. It has been difficult and hard to understand why Jose took his own life and did what he did. We wish there was something we could have done to help prevent this,” Jose Reyes said. “We want to thank all those people in the community who have recognized that we too have experienced a great loss.”
Sparks police have declined to release any information suggesting a motive in the shooting, or whether they think the boy was firing the semi-automatic handgun randomly, or targeting victims. Parents of the two injured boys have said they don’t believe their children were singled out.
Police have refused to comment on an ongoing investigation but said the youth obtained the gun at his residence and that the parents or other adults could face criminal charges if they knowingly made the weapon available to a minor.
The father said Monday the couple wanted to thank the Sparks Police Department “for the way they have treated us during this very serious investigation.”
“They have treated us with dignity and with respect,” he said.