Michael and Sharon Landsberry
10/22/2013 at 03:00 PM EDT
Beloved teacher Michael Landsberry, a former Marine, died a hero at Sparks Middle School in Nevada on Monday in another tragic campus shooting.
The 45-year-old was killed while trying to talk to the unidentified 12-year-old gunman (who later killed himself).
"He was telling him to stop and put the gun down," student Jose Cazares told Today
on Tuesday. "Then the kid, he yelled out, 'No!' Like, he was yelling at him, and he shot him. [The teacher] was calm, he was holding out his hand like, 'Put the gun in my hand.' "
Students, parents and fellow teachers are calling Landsberry's actions heroic. Tom Robinson, deputy chief with the Reno Police Department, also praised him, saying
, "In my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene."
Landsberry, who went by the nickname Batman, and coached sports teams at the middle school and neighboring high school, was remembered fondly on social media by many students.
A Sparks graduate who goes by the handle @yazzgonn
on Twitter, issued a lengthy string of Tweets after hearing of the teacher's death.
"It's just so sad knowing he left because he protected his students," one of the posts
said, followed by another that read
, "The sad part is this week it's his and his wife's anniversary and his daughter graduates from the military tomorrow."
reports that two students who were wounded by the shooter – who used a Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic handgun – are currently in stable condition in hospital.
Authorities will not be releasing the identity of the shooter out of respect for his parents, but schoolmate Amaya Newton was shocked by his actions, calling the gunman "a really nice kid," adding, "He would make you smile when you were having a bad day."
"Everybody wants to know why [the shooter opened fire]," Sparks deputy chief Tom Miller said at a news conference. "That's the big question. The answer is we don't know right now, but we are proactively trying to determine why."