When a student opened fire at an Idaho middle school
, teacher Krista Gneiting
directed students to safety, rushed to help a wounded victim, and then calmly disarmed the sixth-grade shooter, hugging and consoling the girl until police
While two students and a school custodian were shot on May 6, all three survived, and the gunfire was over in minutes, according to Gneiting's family.
Gneiting told ABC News
that she was preparing her Rigby Middle School
students for final exams when she heard the first gunshot down the hall, looked outside her classroom, and saw the custodian lying on the floor. She heard two more shots as she closed the door.
“So I just told my students, ‘We're 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,'” Gneiting said in an interview broadcast on "Good Morning America."
According to police, a sixth-grade girl carried the handgun in her backpack and shot two people
inside the school and one outside, all of whom were injured in their limbs but were released from the hospital within a few days.
Gneiting stated that she was attempting to assist one of the students who had been shot when she noticed the girl holding the gun, and she told the injured student to remain still before approaching the sixth-grader.
“It was a little girl, and my brain
couldn’t quite comprehend that,” she explained, “but I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun.”
She asked the girl, "Are you the shooter?" and then approached, placing her hand on the child's arm and sliding it down to the gun.
“I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand, and she allowed me to; she didn't give it to me, but she didn't fight,” Gneiting explained. “And then after I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug because I thought, this little girl has a mom somewhere who doesn't realize she's having a breakdown and she's hurting people.”
Gneiting comforted the girl until the cops arrived.
“After a while, the girl started talking to me, and I could tell she was very unhappy,” Gneiting explained. “I just kept hugging her and loving her and trying to let her know that we're going to get through this together, and I do believe my presence helped her because she calmed down.”
When the cops arrived, Gneiting informed the girl that she would have to be handcuffed by an officer, to which the child agreed.
“She didn't respond; she just let him; he was very gentle and kind, and he just went ahead and took her and put her in the police car,” she explained.
The girl has been charged in connection with the shooting
, but neither her name nor the nature
of the charges have been released because juvenile court proceedings in Idaho are kept confidential.
, Krista Gneiting's brother-in-law, said that when he first heard about the shooting, he assumed Krista Gneiting's inner "mother bear
" had sprung into action to protect the students, but he quickly realized it was just another side of her strong parental instinct.
“Krista is a born mother,” Layne Gneiting wrote on Facebook
shortly after the shooting. “Mess with her kids, she’ll rip you apart. Need a hug, she’ll hold you for hours, mingling her tears with yours... Determination drove her to act, but tenderness and motherly love — not force — lifted the gun from the girl’s hands to hers.”
Meanwhile, Krista Gneiting expressed hope that people will forgive the girl and assist her in obtaining the necessary support.
“She is just getting started in life, and she just needs some help; everybody makes mistakes,” she told ABC News, adding, “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.”