LITTLETON, Colo. — The gunman was walking through a middle school parking lot and taking shots at students with a hunting rifle as terrified teenagers ran for their lives. He had just wounded two students and seemed ready to unleash more violence when a math teacher named David Benke sprung into action.
Benke confronted the 32-year-old gunman, tackled him and pinned him to the ground with the help of another teacher, stopping what could have been a much more violent encounter in a city all too familiar with tragic school shootings. The shooting occurred less than three miles from where the Columbine High School massacre happened nearly 11 years ago.
"Unfortunately he got another round off before I could grab him," Benke said. "He figured out that he wasn't going to be able to get another round chambered before I got to him so he dropped the gun and then we were kind of struggling around trying to get him subdued."
The two students survived Tuesday's shooting and one remained hospitalized.
Police said they aren't immediately sure about what motivated Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood to target Deer Creek Middle School just after classes had ended for the day. Investigators spent Wednesday interviewing school staff members in attempt to reconstruct the shooting, and they have found live rounds from the hunting rifle at several places on school grounds.
Eastwood has an arrest record in Colorado dating back to 1996 for menacing, assault, domestic violence and driving under the influence, and he is believed to have a history of mental issues. The sheriff's department said Eastwood is an unemployed ranch hand and former student of the school who has been attending community college off and on in pursuit of his GED. The department said he was cooperative with during his interview with investigators.........story continues