The teacher who talked gun-toting student out of a shooting spree
Police praise heroism of Ryan Heber, who, despite being shot himself, persuaded pupil to drop weapon
As debate rages in Washington over what can be done to rid America of gun violence, a teacher in California who was faced with a firearm in his classroom this week has shown that straightforward calm, courage and common sense works best.
Ryan Heber was today being hailed as the quiet hero of Taft Union High School, 120 miles north of Los Angeles, which for a few moments on Thursday seemed set to become the next name on America’s lengthening list of gun violence atrocities. Happily, even though one student remains hospitalised, it did not.
Just as in Newtown, Connecticut, the trouble began at the start of the school day, when a 16-year-old student with a shotgun strode into Mr Heber’s science class, shot one pupil in the chest and fired at a second victim but missed. It was then that Mr Heber, his head grazed by a shotgun pellet, began talking to the shooter, quickly persuading him to lower his gun while everyone in the room was able to get out of harm’s way.
“If it weren’t for this teacher and a quick response, we don’t know,” Taft Sheriff Don Youngblood said, adding that at some point a campus supervisor helped to the calm the shooter down. “They talked him into putting the shotgun down. The heroics go without saying – to stand there and face someone who has a shotgun and has already shot a student, we’re very proud of the job they did.”
Officials said the victim with the chest wound was in critical condition and in an induced coma in a local hospital last night but was expected to survive. Police confirmed that the gunman, who remained in custody, may have been the victim of bullying and for that reason he had specific targets in mind. “Certainly the two people that he targeted had bullied him, in his mind,” Mr Youngblood said. “He knew what he was going to do.”
In Washington, the president of the National Rifle Association, David Keene, predicted that any proposal to outlaw the sale of assault rifles would fail to win enough political support. “I do not think that there’s going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons,” he told NBC News.
Bans both on assault rifles and the high-capacity magazines that allow them fire off tens of bullets at a time are expected to be the centrepiece of a package of measures that Vice President Joe Biden will submit to President Barack Obama next week.
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...