Middle school teacher disarms school shooter then hugs her until police arrive
Math teacher Krista Gneiting came face-to-face with the school shooter and couldn't comprehend that the young girl she was looking at was in fact the shooter.
D.G. Sciortino

Psychologists have said that a lack of love or sensory pleasure in one’s life can lead to violence or mental illness.

If this is true then love is the answer to neutralizing violence.

That’s how Krista Gneiting stopped a school shooter. With some compassion, love, and a hug Gneiting was able to likely save many lives, including her own.


Gneiting, who teaches math at Rigby Middle School in Idaho, was prepping students for their finals in early May when she heard a gunshot down the hall.

When she looked outside the classroom she saw the school’s janitor lying on the floor at the end of the hallway.

Custodian Jim Wilson is reported to have thrown himself in front of students and took a bullet to shield them from harm, according to ABC 4.

“He’s also a hero as well as that teacher,” parent Brittany Allen said. “That everybody worked together in a school and tried to prevent the worst from happening, but specifically the teacher and the custodian.”

Gneiting then shut her door and two more shots rang out.

“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.

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The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reports that a sixth-grade girl took a handgun from her backpack and starting shooting just before 9 a.m. Two students and one adult were wounded by the girl but expected to survive.

Gneiting was trying to aid one of the victims when she saw the girl with the gun.

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

Gneiting then asked, “Are you the shooter?”

What Gneiting did next was extraordinarily brave.

“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 said.

“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 dialed 911 from her phone and held the girl in her arms until the police arrived.

“After a while, the girl started talking to me and I could tell she was very unhappy,” Gneiting said. “I just kept hugging her and loving her and trying to let her know that we’re going to get through this together. I do believe that my being there helped her because she calmed down. So I do know that my calmness definitely must have affected her.”

Police took the girl into custody and charged her. Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor said she could face up to three counts of attempted murder.

Gneiting said that she just hopes that people will forgive the girl and that she gets the support she needs.

“She’s just barely starting life and she just needs some help,” Gneiting said. “Everybody makes mistakes. 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.”

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According to the Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal/Gandhi Book Centre, which is dedicated to spreading Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings, a lack of love can lead to violence and trying to remedy it with punishment is futile.

“Unfortunately, violence is often offered as a solution to violence. Imprisoning people will not solve the problem, because the causes of violence lie in our basic values and the way in which we bring up our children and youth. When young children are not touched, held, or surrounded with affection, the neural systems required to experience pleasure are not developed, which leads to an individual and a culture that is self-centered, violent, and authoritarian.”

To donate funds to each of the three victims injured in the shooting, click here, here, and here. Learn more about Gneiting’s incredible act of compassion that saved the day in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at