When a student in the small town of Rigby, Idaho, opened fire at a middle school, a math teacher directed children to safety, rushed to help a victim who was wounded and then calmly disarmed the sixth-grade student with the gun, hugging and calming her down until police arrived.
Two students and the school custodian were shot on May 6, and have survived. And parents are giving credit to Krista Gneiting, saying that her bravery helped save lives.
When the first gunshot happened, Gneiting told ABC News that she was preparing her Rigby Middle School students for their final exams. When she looked outside the classroom, she saw the custodian lying on the ground. She then heard two more gunshots as she closed the door.
The police say a sixth-grade girl brought the handgun in her backpack and shot two people inside the school, and one outside. All three were released from the hospital within a few days.
Gneiting said she was trying to help one of the wounded students when she saw the girl holding the gun. “It was a little girl, and my brain couldn’t quite grasp that,” she continued. “I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun.”
She approached the sixth-grader, asking her, “Are you the shooter?” Gneiting then walked closer, put her hand on the girl’s arm, and “slowly pulled the gun out of her hand.” She said the girl didn’t give it to her but also didn’t fight it. “After I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug because I thought, this little girl has a mom somewhere that doesn’t realize she’s having a breakdown and she’s hurting people,” Gneiting explained. “After a while, the girl started talking to me, and I could tell she was very unhappy – I just kept hugging her and loving her and trying to let her know that we’re going to get through this together.”
When the police got there, the math teacher told the sixth-grade student that an officer would need to put her in handcuffs, and she complied.
The girl has been charged in the shooting, however, neither her name nor the nature of the charges has been released.
Gneiting says she hopes people can forgive the girl and help her get the support she needs. “She is just barely starting in life and she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes.”
Watch Krista Gneiting’s interview with Good Morning America below.