A fearless teacher wrestled an allegedly deranged gunman to the ground in Colorado Tuesday, likely saving the lives of students at a middle school only a few miles from Columbine High School, the site of one of the nation’s worst school shootings.
Math teacher David Benke, 57, charged the man with the rifle and wrestled him to the ground. Others then helped him subdue the man.
According to the Denver Post:
The scene unfolded Tuesday afternoon with shocking familiarity — a shooting outside a Jefferson County school, wounded students, heroic teachers, frantic parents.
When it was over, a man with a history of mental problems was in jail, accused of opening fire with a hunting rifle; two eighth-graders were hospitalized — one in critical condition; and one person after another realized it could have been so much worse.
The bizarre burst of gunfire that erupted just after 3 p.m. at Deer Creek Middle School, 9201 W. Columbine Drive, ended when David Benke, a 57-year-old math teacher, rushed the shooter, wrestled him to the ground and held on as others helped him subdue the man.
“I haven’t cried in 20 years, but I cried like a baby and thanked Jesus,” said Bob Wilson, who pulled to the side of the road to gather himself after his daughter, Elizabeth, called to tell him what happened. “This day could have been so much worse”
The two injured teenagers were identified as Matt Thieu and Reagan Weber.
Matt, initially treated at Littleton Adventist Hospital, was later transferred to Children’s Hospital, where a spokesperson declined to discuss his condition today. Reagan was treated at the Littleton hospital and released a few hours later.
Jefferson County authorities identified the alleged gunman as Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, 32. He was held on two counts of attempted murder, said Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
His father, Bruco War Eagle Eastwood, said his son heard voices and struggled financially.
“I don’t know why he did this, but he’s always had problems. I don’t know why, though,” the elder Eastwood said. “He’s different, just different.”
He also has an arrest record dating back to 1996 — including three incidents in which he was accused of threatening someone with a weapon.
The elder Eastwood said the gun, a bolt-action .30-06, was his, though he was not sure when his son took it.
I hope that there is good news today on the condition of Matt Thieu, who is reportedly still critical. I know that parents are grateful to Dr. Benke, who was willing to do what many of us would not have been able to — run toward a lunatic with a gun rather than away from him.