NEW: Shooter identified
Mason, 12, shot in abdomen outside Sparks Middle School in Nevada on Monday
Mason was one of two students injured; a teacher was killed
Mason says he tried to help teacher before he was wounded himself
Mason heard gunshots while he was outside with classmates, waiting for school to start. Then students were running, and a teacher was lying still on a playground basketball court, hit by gunfire.
The 12-year-old wanted to help him, but a vice principal told him to run. So Mason moved toward the building – and that’s when he saw Jose Reyes, a friend and a Sparks Middle School classmate, with a gun about 10 to 20 feet away.
“I (said), ‘Please don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me,’” Mason told CNN in an exclusive interview Thursday from a hospital where he was being treated. “I looked at him. I saw (the gun), and he braced it and shot me in the stomach.”
Authorities say Mason was the last of three people that Reyes, 12, shot with a 9 mm handgun Monday morning outside the school. Mason and another wounded student – the first to be shot – survived.
Math teacher Mike Landsberry, the second to be hit, died. Investigators say Landsberry probably saved lives by walking toward the shooter – giving others time to flee – on the basketball court after the first student was shot in the shoulder.
Reyes fatally shot himself, police said. Sgt. Greta Woyciehowsky of the Sparks Police Department and Adam Mayberry, a spokesman for the city of Sparks, confirmed Reyes was the shooter.
Mason, shot in the abdomen, was able to walk at the hospital Thursday. His mother, Jenifer Davis, said the bullet missed vital parts and exited behind his right hip.
“I’m … very lucky I still have him here,” Davis said.
Now Mason is left wondering what caused his friend to hurt him and a classmate, and kill a teacher that Mason deeply admired.
Mason said the incident began when he heard a few gunshots – he thought they were in the distance – as children gathered outside the school after 7 a.m., waiting for the day to begin.
At first confused about why schoolmates were running, he saw Landsberry lying wounded on the basketball court. A friend called 911. Mason and other students wanted to get Landsberry into the school, he said.
“We tried, and one of my vice principals … said, ‘Get in the building, get in the school fast.’ And that’s when I ran to my backpack, and I (eventually) got shot.”