Idaho teacher calmly disarms school shooter and hugs her until police arrive

Rigby middle school.
Rigby middle school. Photo credit: Google Maps

A US teacher is being applauded for calmly disarming a school shooter by hugging and consoling her until police arrive. 

On May 6, a sixth-grade girl shot two students and a custodian at an Idaho middle school. Local law enforcement said the girl fired multiple rounds inside and outside Rigby middle school in the small city of Rigby. 

Speaking to ABC News on Wednesday, math teacher Krista Gneiting said she was preparing her class for an exam when she heard a gunshot in the hall. 

She looked out and saw the custodian lying on the floor. She then heard two more gunshots so she shut the door. 

"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 told ABC News. 

The sixth-grade student opened fire at the school just before 9am. She shot two of the victims in the hallway before moving outside and shooting the third victim. All three were wounded but were released from hospital a few days later. 

Gneiting told ABC News she was helping one of the wounded students when she saw the shooter holding a gun. 

"It was a little girl and my brain couldn't quite grasp that. I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun. 

"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.

"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'."

Gneiting then called 911 and consoled the shooter until they arrived. Parents have credited her with saving their children's lives. 

The girl has been charged but it's not known what with because juvenile court proceedings are sealed in Idaho. Sixth graders are between 11 and 12 years old.  

It's not Idaho's first school shooting.  In 1999 a student at another school fired a shotgun several times. Thankfully no one was hit by the gunfire but one student was injured from the shell ricocheting.

In 1989 a student at Rigby junior high pulled a gun on a teacher and students. They then took a 14-year-old girl hostage. An hour later the girl was rescued from a nearby church and no one was shot.