Pupils from Sparks Middle School in Nevada trembled in fear and begged for their lives as a 12-year-old boy went berserk with a handgun, waving the weapon at classmates and shooting dead a maths teacher.
The boy opened fire, wounded two boys and killed a math teacher on a basketball court before he finally ends his own life. Sparks, just east of Reno, has a population of roughly 90,000.
Press Associated reported that Washoe County School District police said the seventh-grade pupil brought the 9mm semi-automatic Ruger gun from his home, but authorities were still working to determine how he obtained it. The boy's parents were co-operating with authorities and could face charges, police said.
Meanwhile, the community was left struggling to make sense of the latest episode of school violence to rock the United States less than a year after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, left 26 dead.
Authorities, who are not naming the boy out of respect for his family, provided no motive for the shooting but said they had interviewed 20 or 30 witnesses and were looking into any prior connections between them and him
Under Nevada law it is illegal to allow anyone under 18 to handle a gun without supervision. Police said they believe the shooter at one point tried to enter the school but could not open the door because of emergency lockdown procedures.
The middle school will remain closed this week.