When a student at an Idaho middle school opened fire, teacher Krista Gneiting led students to safety, raced to assist a wounded victim, and then disarmed the gunman, embracing and consoling the girl before police arrived.
Gneiting’s act of kindness is being credited by parents with saving lives.
On the morning of May 6, Krista Gneiting, a math teacher at Rigby Middle School in Rigby, about 15 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, was preparing her students for their final exams when she heard a gunshot from down the hall. She said she saw the school’s janitor lying on the floor at the end of the hallway when she looked outside her classroom. She said that she closed the door after hearing two more gunshots.
Gneiting said in a interview shown on Good Morning America. “So I just told my students, ‘We are going to leave, 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.'”
According to police, a sixth-grade girl carried the weapon in her backpack and shot two people inside and one outside the school. All three were injured in their limbs and were treated in the hospital for a few days before being released.
When Gneiting saw the girl carrying the rifle, she said she was trying to help one of the students who had been shot. She confronted the sixth-grader after telling the injured student to remain still.
“It was a little girl, and my brain couldn’t quite grasp that,” she said. “I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun.”
She asked the girl, “Are you the shooter?” and then walked closer, putting her hand on the child’s arm and sliding it down to the gun.
“I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand, and she allowed me to. She didn’t give it to me, but she didn’t fight,” Ms. Gneiting said.
“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.”
Until the cops arrived, Gneiting held the girl and consoled her.
“After a while, the girl started talking to me, and I could tell she was very unhappy,” Gneiting said. “I just kept hugging her and loving her and trying to let her know that we’re going to get through this together. I do believe that my being there helped her because she calmed down.”
When a police officer arrested the girl, Gneiting said she explained to her that “he needs to put you in handcuffs.”
“She didn’t respond, she just let him,” she said. “He was very gentle and very kind, and he just went ahead and took her and put her in the police car.”
The girl has been charged in the shooting, but neither her name nor the specifics of the charges have been released because juvenile court proceedings in Idaho are held confidential.
Layne Gneiting, Krista Gneiting’s brother-in-law, said he thought Krista Gneiting’s inner “mother bear” had burst into action to defend the students when he first learned about the shooting. He quickly realised it was yet another facet of her deep maternal instinct.Follow Us