The shocking incident unfolded on May 6 at Rigby Middle School, which is situated in the small town of Rigby, about 15 miles northeast of Idaho Falls.
To this day, the school system remains plagued by young shooters, who not only destroy their own future but also prevent their victims from having a normal life. Their rampageous actions leave their victims traumatized or worse dead and thus authorities confront them with equal violence. But that's not something a school shooter in Idaho experienced when a brave teacher disarmed and hugged her instead of shunning her away.
The shocking incident unfolded on May 6 at Rigby Middle School, which is situated in the small town of Rigby, about 15 miles northeast of Idaho Falls. Krista Gneiting, a math teacher at the school, was busy preparing her students for their final exams that morning when she suddenly heard a gunshot. The deafening sound seemed to be coming from down the hall. To inspect the matter, Gneiting recalled looking outside her classroom and finding the school's janitor lying on the floor at the end of the hallway.
Idaho Teacher Who Stopped 6th-Grade School Shooter Says She Hugged Girl After Disarming Her https://t.co/NlMoJq1KBF— People (@people) May 19, 2021
Right after hearing two more gunshots, Gneiting shut her classroom door and began thinking about ways to protect her students. "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,'" shared the teacher during an interview with ABC News. The shooter, who remains unnamed, was identified as a sixth-grade student who opened fire just before 9 a.m. local time using a handgun she had in her backpack.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the shooting left two students and one adult wounded. First, she shot two of the victims in the hallway before proceeding outside and shooting the third. When Gneiting spotted the shooter, she was helping one of the students who had been shot. "It was a little girl and my brain couldn't quite grasp that," recalled Gneiting of the shocking moment. "I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun."
Next, she looked at the girl and calmly asked her, "Are you the shooter?" Careful not to make any sudden movements, the math teacher slowly walked towards the sixth-grader. "I just walked up to her and I put my hand over her hand, I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand and she allowed me to," explained Gneiting. "She didn't give it to me but she didn't fight. 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."
While embracing the child, Gneiting called 911 from her cellphone and continued holding on to the students until police arrived. Her method seemed to work as the girl began opening up to her after some time. "After a while, the girl started talking to me and I could tell she was very unhappy. I just kept hugging her and loving her and trying to let her know that we're going to get through this together," she added. "I do believe that my being there helped her because she calmed down." When officers arrived at the scene, Gneiting told the girl that "he needs to put you in handcuffs."
"She didn't respond, she just let him," said the teacher. "He was very gentle and very kind, and he just went ahead and took her and put her in the police car." Although the charges against the student remain unclear, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor said that the resident of Idaho Falls could face three counts of attempted murder as her three victims are expected to survive, according to East Idaho News. But Gneiting hopes that the community finds it in their hearts to forgive the girl who needs their support. "She is just barely starting in life and she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes," noted Gneiting. "I think we need to make sure we get her help and get her back into where she loves herself so that she can function in society."
Cover image source: YouTube | Good Morning America