Slatest PM: Student Shooter's Parents Could Face Charges

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 22 2013 4:36 PM

Slatest PM: 12-Year-Old Shooter's Parents Could Face Charges

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Police tape secures the scene after a shooting at Sparks Middle School October 21, 2013 in Sparks, Nevada.

Photo by David Calvert/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Latest From Nevada: Associated Press: "The 12-year-old student who opened fire on a Nevada middle school campus, wounding two classmates and killing a teacher before he turned the gun on himself, got the weapon from his home, authorities said Tuesday. Washoe County School District police said they are still working to determine how the boy obtained the 9mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun used in the Monday morning spree at Sparks Middle School. The boy's parents are cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case, police said. Authorities say they're withholding the seventh-grader's name out of respect for his family."

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The Shooting's Timeline: NBC News: "The boy arrived on school grounds around 7:15 a.m. local time on Monday morning and shot a student in the shoulder, Sparks deputy police chief Tom Miller said at a Tuesday press conference. The boy continued walking and encountered math teacher Michael Landsberry on the basketball court, and shot him, police said. He continued walking and shot another student before turning around and fatally shooting himself in the head, police said. ... There was evidence the boy tried to enter the school but failed to do so, Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras said on Tuesday."

The Hero: USA Today: "Lansberry, a member of the Nevada Air National Guard, leaves behind his wife and two stepdaughters. ... Student Jose Cazares said he was hanging out with friends when they heard what they thought were firecrackers. He said he saw a boy shoot two students. He said the boy then aimed the gun at his chest, but Landsberry stepped between him and the shooter. ... [Lansberry's] students shared the pain of his loss in an outpouring of heartfelt messages on social media, and shared photos of their teacher, showing his playfulness in the classroom."

Searching For Answers: Los Angeles Times: "[P]olice said they do not have a motive for the seventh-grader's actions.... 'Everybody wants to know why – that’s the big question,' said Sparks Police Department Deputy Chief Tom Miller. 'The answer is we don’t know right now. We are proactively trying to determine why.' ... Police said the crime scene has been expanded to the shooter's home....Police said they do not yet know if the students were targeted and declined to speculate about whether bullying was a motive."

It's Tuesday, October 18th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

Apple's Surprise: Reuters: "Apple Inc will give away operating and work software free to Mac computer users, challenging Microsoft Corp's near-stranglehold on personal computing as the latter starts to make inroads into the mobile market. Apple revealed the surprise offer, available to all users of MacBooks and Mac computers, on Tuesday at the same time as it unveiled a slimmer, faster iPad Air and a new line-up of Macs in time for the holidays. Its Mac operating system and iWork software suite, which compete with Microsoft's Excel, Word and other applications, will now be offered free to all users. By giving away its Mac operating system Apple is taking on Microsoft's predominant Windows platform, installed on an estimated eight to nine out of 10 of the world's computers and one of its most profitable cash cows."

TSA's New Pre-Screening: New York Times: "The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases that can include records like car registrations and employment information. While the agency says that the goal is to streamline the security procedures for millions of passengers who pose no risk, the new measures give the government greater authority to use travelers’ data for domestic airport screenings. Previously that level of scrutiny applied only to individuals entering the United States. The prescreening, some of which is already taking place, is described in documents the T.S.A. released to comply with government regulations about the collection and use of individuals’ data, but the details of the program have not been publicly announced. It is unclear precisely what information the agency is relying upon to make these risk assessments .... [But the] measures go beyond the background check the government has conducted for years, called Secure Flight, in which a passenger’s name, gender and date of birth are compared with terrorist watch lists."

Florida Forging: ABC News: "Officials investigating how two convicted murderers used forged documents to walk out of a Florida prison have 'pinpointed suspects' who aided in the escapes and said that additional arrests are 'definitely' going to be made. ... Agents have been questioning Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker at Bay County Jail since they were taken back into custody on Saturday, but neither man has answered any questions about possible accomplices, police have said. ... Law enforcement officials believe the two men may have paid someone thousands of dollars to create the forged release paper they used to con officials. The commissioner said that there have been at least seven cases of forged documents for early release in Florida, three of which were successful, including Jenkins and Walker. Jenkins' first attempt to free himself was in 2011, but he was caught before he was released."

Tea Party Takes a Hit: CBS News: "In the aftermath of the partial government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress get low job approval ratings, but Republicans fare worse. Views of the tea party also suffered. While 31 percent of Americans approve of the way Democrats in Congress are doing their job, just 18 percent approve of how Republicans are doing theirs. Disapproval of Republicans in Congress has risen five percentage points since before the shutdown, to 78 percent. Democrats' 'negatives' climbed three points, to 65 percent. ... Tea party adherents were front-and-center during the shutdown, and views of the movement have become more negative. Just 14 percent of Americans now hold a favorable view of the tea party, down from 18 percent as the government shutdown began, and unfavorable views are up 7 points. Half of Americans still hold no view of the tea party or aren't familiar with it, even after the high-profile political battles."

Congress Will Get a Facelift (But Not the One We All Want): Washington Post: "The  U.S. Capitol Dome is about to undergo a two-year, $60 million restoration project that, much like the one at the Washington Monument, will cover the iconic structure with scaffolding. The cast-iron dome, constructed 150 years ago — and championed by then-Sen. Jefferson Davis (D-Miss.) until he went off to run the Confederacy — has not had a complete renovation since 1960, according to the Architect of the Capitol, and age and weather have caused more than 1,000 cracks and other 'deficiencies.' The architect’s office is constantly working at restoration of the Capitol. They’re now doing an extraordinary restoration of the murals on the first floor of the Senate side of the Capitol, tediously retouching the walls to restore them to their original 19th century design.

See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.