Idaho school shooting: Teacher who disarmed student felt like angel was guiding her, father says

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The Idaho middle school teacher who confronted and disarmed a sixth-grade student during a shooting on Thursday told family afterward that she felt like there was an “angel on my shoulder that was telling me what to say and what to do,” her father told Fox News. 

Dean Turnblom said his daughter Krista Gneiting sprang into action when she heard shots fired inside Rigby Middle School, where according to police a female student wounded three people after she pulled a handgun out of her backpack and opened fire. 

Gneiting, an eighth-grade math teacher whose classroom is located about 20 to 30 feet from a door leading out of the school, “decided that since the shooting had sounded like it was down the hallway … to let her kids get out of the room and run out through that door and get out to the high school,” Turnblom told Fox News by phone on Friday. 

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“She says ‘and then you run to the high school as fast as you can and don’t stop or look back for nothing,’” Turnblom recalled from a conversation he had with Gneiting Thursday night, in which she walked him through the harrowing experience. 

Turnblom said that Gneiting then spotted in a hallway one of the two students injured in the shooting and she attempted to pick him up and bring him to safety. 

“When she did – she got blood all over her – she looked up and saw this girl standing across the hallway with the gun,” Turnblom said. “So she sat the boy down and told him to be quiet and to be still. And she started walking toward the girl, talking to her very calmly and telling her things would be OK, we just needed to stop and think things through a little bit and just tried to settle her down.” 

When Gneiting got close to the suspect, she “put her hand up on the girl’s arm and then just let her [hand] slide down her arm until it got to the gun,” Turnblom added. 

“When she touched the gun, the girl let go of the gun and she took the gun and had her other arm around the girl already kind of hugging her,” Turnblom told Fox News. 

A police officer walks out of Rigby Middle School following a shooting there on Thursday. (AP)

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Gneiting then held the suspect until a police officer came walking down the hallway and placed the student in handcuffs, according to Turnblom. 

“She says ‘I just kept going and I felt like there was an angel on my shoulder that was telling me what to say and what to do,’” Turnblom said his daughter told him. 

In a Facebook post from an account purportedly belonging to Gneiting, she wrote that her “heart is touched by all the incredible outpouring of love I’ve received.” 

“Thank you. I don’t want money, I just appreciate the incredible support of Rigby!!! I love my students so much! It is why I teach!!” the post said. “They make my heart happy every day!!!! All of the staff at Rigby did their part and kept our wonderful children safe!” 

Students walk past police tape after the shooting at Rigby Middle School. They were reunited with their parents at a high school nearby. (AP/The Idaho Post-Register)

The school where the shooting unfolded, which is located about 95 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park, was closed Friday as counselors are on hand to assist a grieving community. 

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But Turnblom says his daughter is preparing to return to the classroom as soon as she can. 

“She is a pretty tough character,” he told Fox News. “She was scared to death during it, but she is not a wimpy little gal. She is a tough turkey.” 

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