Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office vehicle outside Rigby Middle School during an investigation Thursday afternoon. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
RIGBY – Krista Gneiting, the teacher identified by law enforcement as the person who confronted and disarmed the suspect during Thursday’s shooting at Rigby Middle School, told her father she felt there was an “angel on my shoulder that was telling me what to say and what to do.”
The incident began around 9:10 a.m. – less than an hour after classes began. During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said a female sixth-grade student pulled a handgun from her backpack and fired multiple rounds inside and outside the school.
Two students and one adult custodian sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the 5-minute ordeal, all of which were hospitalized.
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In an interview with Fox News, Gneiting’s father, Dean Turnblom, who did not witness anything that took place, recalls in a conversation with her that night she “decided that since the shooting had sounded like it was down the hallway … to let her kids get out of the room and run out through that door and get out to the high school.”
“She says ‘and then you run to the high school as fast as you can and don’t stop or look back for nothing,’” Turnblom said Gneiting told him.
Gneiting saw one of the injured students in the hallway, picked him up off the ground and brought him to safety, according to Turnblom.
“When she did – she got blood all over her – she looked up and saw this girl standing across the hallway with the gun,” Turnblom said. “So she sat the boy down and told him to be quiet and to be still. And she started walking toward the girl, talking to her very calmly and telling her things would be OK, we just needed to stop and think things through a little bit and just tried to settle her down.”
When Gneiting got close to the suspect, she “put her hand up on the girl’s arm and then just let her (hand) slide down her arm until it got to the gun,” Turnblom added.
“When she touched the gun, the girl let go of the gun and she took the gun and had her other arm around the girl already kind of hugging her,” Turnblom told Fox News.
Gneiting held the suspect until a police officer came walking down the hallway and placed the student in handcuffs, Turnblom says.
“She says ‘I just kept going and I felt like there was an angel on my shoulder that was telling me what to say and what to do,’” Turnblom said his daughter told him.
In a Facebook post, Gneiting wrote that her “heart is touched by all the incredible outpouring of love I’ve received.”
“Thank you. I don’t want money, I just appreciate the incredible support of Rigby!!! I love my students so much! It is why I teach!!” the post said. “They make my heart happy every day!!!! All of the staff at Rigby did their part and kept our wonderful children safe!”
Signs outside a Rigby business Friday showing support for the victims. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com
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Authorities have not officially released the names of the shooter or the victims, but multiple GoFundMe accounts identify the victims.
The victims were taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. The adult was treated and released the same day. The students were reported to be in fair condition Thursday afternoon. One student was shot once in an extremity and may require surgery, Dr. Michael Lemon, Trauma medical director at EIRMC said Thursday. The other student was potentially shot twice, and two limbs were hit.
The suspect is now in custody at the Five County Detention Center in St. Anthony.
RELATED | Rigby students set to return to school next week as suspect is booked into 5C Detention Center
Jefferson County School District 251 closed all schools Friday and classes are canceled Monday following Thursday’s shooting. The words “We’re in this together” posted on the marquee outside the school Thursday morning has since become a rallying cry as community members offer their support for those affected by Thursday’s tragedy.
In the wake of the shooting, Turnblom says his daughter is preparing to return to the classroom as soon as she can.
“She is a pretty tough character,” he told Fox News. “She was scared to death during it, but she is not a wimpy little gal. She is a tough turkey.”
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