Motive Unclear in 2013 Nevada School Shooting

Sparks Nevada police have released a 1,300 page report detailing an exhaustive investigation into the October 2013 middle school shooting in Sparks, Nevada.

"The family owns an XBOX 360 and 69 video games," Sparks, Nevada police chief Brian Allen said at the media event announcing the release of the department's 1300-page report on last year's shooting involving 12-year-old Jose Reyes, who injured two, killed teacher Michael Landsberry, and killed himself using a 9mm handgun at the Sparks Middle School.

"Of the 69 video games owned," Allen continued, "47 are violent-themed first-person shooter or shooter-type games such as 'Grand Theft Auto V,' 'Hitman Absolution,' 'Assassins Creed' and 'Call of Duty 4.'"

Video games were listed as one of the "potential external influences" on Jose, according to  police. Signs of autism were also present in the 12-year-old, according to the report, as well as the fact that Reyes was on Prozac and that he had had a number of documented outbursts at school over the years.

Police also said that bullying was not being considered as a motive for the crime, but it's clear that Reyes felt that he was being bullied. In a note addressed to the school found inside a notebook, Reyes seemed to indicate the he was bullied, or at the very least, felt that he was the target of regular bullying.

"Dear teachers and students today is the day when I kill you bastards for the embarrassment that you did. You say mean things in school," Reyes wrote in his notebook. "That I'm gay. That I'm lazy. Stupid. Idiot and also say I pee my pants and also stealing my money. Well that all ends. Today I will get revenge on the students and teachers for ruining my life… And right now this school will now come to an end your death will be rising when I shoot you. Have a great death at school."

But in a note to his parents, Reyes apologized, saying that he understood if they didn't love him for doing what he did (you can read it here).

"Dear mom and dad I'm sorry about all this is because some of my family and friends hate me but I understand. What I did this shooting is not because of the shooting games, bullying or other stuff is because of the past causes there some bad things in the past cause of me. And now I'm just a monster," he wrote.

Police also indicated in the report that Reyes used the family laptop to search the Internet for topics such as "Top 10 evil children," "Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game," and "bullying." Images on Reyes phone included "violent wars scenes" and pictures of the "Columbine High School shooters."

Finally, the hand gun used in the shooting belonged to Reyes parents, and apparently was not secured in a locker or a safe. According to police, the family kept two guns in a cabinet above the refrigerator, hidden behind cereal boxes.

While police have focused on a variety of factors, it is unclear why this shooting happened even after an exhaustive and extensive investigation. No matter the reason, it's a tragedy for the community of Sparks, Nevada, and the families affected by it.

Source: USA Today, Reno Gazette Journal – image via.

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Yeah, but that type of death is, for some reason, being downplayed or ignored by both sides of the gun argument.  There is so much focus on the 'home invader' scenario that the domestic violence one is barely being discussed.

  2. 0
    Infophile says:

    Not all guns are kept for self-defense. Some people use them for hunting or for target shooting. For either of those latter cases, keeping it in a safe makes perfect sense.

    (It's worth noting that while the self-defense justification is used by a lot of people, and they sincerely believe it, the statistics show that owning a gun actually makes it more likely you'll be shot. It gives an aggressor something they can use against you if they can manage to do it first. This is particularly the case for women who own guns, who get shot with their own guns by their partners far more often than they use guns in self-defense.)

  3. 0
    Neeneko says:

    If one is LUCKY if they just do nothing.  I have known autistic children (now adults) where teachers actively participated in bullying and outright told the bully kids that they were 'correct'.

  4. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Schools and police are generally loath to acknowledge bullying and often try to downplay it as much as possible or even outright shift the blame onto the victims, esp if they are male.

    Good schools do not have bullies, so he couldn't have been bullied, it must have been the autism that made him THINK he was being bullied.  All their nice normal children couldn't have been mean to him, maybe he just resented their proper place in the social hierarchy?

  5. 0
    Infophile says:

    I think it's pretty obvious they don't want to admit to what a problem bullying is. A huge number of people, including those within the school system and law enforcement, not only see nothing wrong with it, but actually see it as a good thing. It's basically conformity-policing, punishing students who are too different.

    One thing I realized in high school is that if a school wants bullying to stop, they have a lot of power to make it happen. I was lucky enough to go to a high school that valued academic achievement enough that the powers-that-be made efforts to protect kids from being bullied for being smart. That kind of bullying was the norm in middle school, so it took a couple years to knock it out of the kids as they got in, but a few interventions from teachers was all it took to make it stop.

    However, the school most certainly did not care about bullying over perceived homosexuality or straying from gender norms. While I had it fine as a nerd, a friend of my sister's was bullied horribly for being gay, and the school did nothing to stop it. (Unfortunately I didn't learn this till long after I'd graduated.) From my experience, I know they could have stopped it if they'd wanted to, so it seems they just didn't want to.

    Bullying always occurs with the implicit collaboration of the school in looking the other way. And the worst sorts also require law enforcement to look the other way. I don't know if that actually happened here, but it wouldn't surprise me given the reaction to his notebook. It seems quite likely they don't want to admit bullying had anything to do with his shooting spree, as that would mean they might be complicit through letting the bullying go on. And since that's unacceptable, they have to assume bullying had nothing to do with it.

  6. 0
    Longjocks says:

    What's worse about it is that "Police also said that bullying was not being considered as a motive for the crime…"… WTF?!

    On an unrelated note – "Finally, the hand gun used in the shooting belonged to Reyes parents, and apparently was not secured in a locker or a safe." – Now I'm not exactly pro gun and I live in a country when it's illegal to have them, but I find this a strange thing to consider. Why would you keep a gun in a safe or locker? The idea of having them for self-defense is to be able to get to them in a moment's notice when you're under threat.

  7. 0
    bluelightrevival says:

    "While police have focused on a variety of factors, it is unclear why this shooting happened even after an exhaustive and extensive investigation"

    How is it unclear? He wrote in his notebook the reason, Hes was being bullied.

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