TODAY   |  October 22, 2013

Search is on for middle school shooter’s motive

Investigators are now trying to determine why a 12-year-old opened fire at a Nevada middle school on Monday, killing a teacher and wounding two others before taking his own life. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>>> but first, the terrible shooting at a nevada middle school . joe fryer has new details on the investigation. joe , good morning, what are we learning?

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. investigators now trying to figure out what motivated a student to bring a gun here to school and open fire killing a teacher and wounding two students before shooting and killing himself.

>> i'm calling from sparks middle school . we have a shooting at our school.

>> reporter: when the sound of gunfire erupted mike lance -- landsberry quickly stepped forward.

>> the teacher fell and everybody ran away.

>> reporter: a national guardsman and former marine, he died at the scene. he was 45 years old.

>> he loved everyone and wanted to protect everyone. it's hard on us to lose him.

>> reporter: two students were also shot including one that tried to help the teacher. both of those children are expected to survive.

>> one was shot through the shoulder. the other shot in the and.

>> reporter: in all, police say 20 to 30 people witnessed the shooting which took place as students were arriving for class.

>> this is a student from sparks middle school . can you please send police out here? there's a kid with a gun.

>> reporter: students were quickly ushered inside and locked down and then evacuated to nearby school where is ty reunited with worried parents.

>> i was in a panic until we got here and we had to wait a long time to be able to see or know if she was okay and when i found out she was okay. she's my life, you know?

>> reporter: for some, a day that started violently at school ended peacefully at church as they remember a teacher that died a hero. police have not yet named the suspect or released any information about him. but they did say his weapon was a semiautomatic handgun . matt.

>> joe fryer thank you very