Idaho teacher Krista Gneiting says sixth-grade shooter who she hugged after disarming was 'having a breakdown'
RIGBY, IDAHO: A teacher who saved students as well as staff members of Rigby Middle School in Idaho from a student of a sixth grade who opened fire on Thursday, May 6, has said that the girl was “unhappy” and “having a breakdown”. In an interview to ABC News that aired on ‘Good Morning America’ on Wednesday, May 19, Krista Turnblom Gneiting -- who single-handedly disarmed the student -- explained what exactly happened that day.
“I just walked up to her and I put my hand over her hand — I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand and she allowed me to.” She continued, “She didn't give it to me, but she didn't fight. And then 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.”
According to an Associated Press report, authorities confirmed that the girl -- whose identity has not been released -- came with a gun to school in early May and shot several bullets at around 9:15 in the morning. Due to the firing, two students were harmed along with the school's janitor, Jim Wilson. However, none of them were critically injured and received emergency treatment at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Sixth-grade girl opens fire in Idaho middle school and injures 3 before teacher disarms her, arrested
On May 6, Gneiting said she was in her class preparing her students for final exams when she heard the firing sound. When the Maths teacher looked outside, she found Wilson lying on the floor and soon heard two more gun shots. She then asked her students to run. “We're going to run to the high school, you're going to run hard, you're not going to look back and now is the time to get up and go,’” she added.
Explaining how she got hold of the accused, Gneiting said she was helping a victim when she saw her. “It was a little girl and my brain couldn't quite grasp that. I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun,” she stated. After calmly taking her gun from her, the teacher said she called 911 and hugged her until police reached the scene and arrested her.
“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,” Gneiting mentioned.
Earlier, the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office told PEOPLE that the suspect is in custody and has been pressed with charges, but details regarding this had not been disclosed yet. Also, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor said at a news conference that the girl can be charged with three counts of attempted murder.
However Gneiting said, “She is just barely starting in life and she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes. I think we need to make sure we get her help and get her back into where she loves herself so that she can function in society.”
Previously, after the attack in school, Chad Martin, Jefferson School District Superintendent, had stated, “Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter. We had a school shooting here at Rigby Middle School. What we know so far is the shooter has been apprehended. There is no further threat to the students.”