Idaho Teacher Disarms 6th Grade School Shooter By Hugging Her

by Christina Marfice

Teacher Krista Gneiting is likely the reason no one died in an Idaho middle school shooting earlier this month

On May 6, a sixth-grade girl allegedly opened fire in a middle school in Rigby, Idaho, shooting two other students and a custodian. None of them suffered serious injuries — all survived and were released from the hospital within a few days. And now we’re learning that the reason the shooting wasn’t much worse might have been the compassionate actions of math teacher Krista Gneiting.

Gneiting appeared on Good Morning America to share her story of that morning. She said she was preparing her students for their final exams when she heard gunshots, looked into the hallway, and saw the custodian lying on the floor.

“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,'” she said.

That alone would have been a heroic act in what must have been an absolutely horrifying moment. But instead of running with her students, Gneiting stayed at the Idaho middle school. She was trying to help a student who had been shot when she saw the suspect with a handgun in her hand.

“It was a little girl, and my brain couldn’t quite grasp that,” Gneiting said. “I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun.”

She asked the little girl, “Are you the shooter?” and walked over to her.

“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 said. “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.”

Gneiting hugged and consoled the little girl until police arrived and took her into custody.

Because juvenile cases are sealed in Idaho, we don’t know who the girl is, or what she’s been charged with. But after this interview, we know that the shooting could have been far worse, and the quick, compassionate actions from a teacher possibly saved lives. Even now, Gneiting is advocating for the alleged shooter to get help, not punishment.

“She is just barely starting in life and she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes,” she said. “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.”