"It was a little girl and my brain couldn't quite grasp that," Rigby Middle School math teacher Krista Gneiting said in an exclusive interview with ABC News Wednesday

By Christine Pelisek
May 19, 2021 05:10 PM
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Krista Gneiting
Krista Gneiting
| Credit: Good Morning America

An Idaho teacher who stopped a shooting at a middle school earlier this month says she hugged the sixth-grade shooter after she took the gun away from the girl.

"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," Rigby Middle School math teacher Krista Gneiting said in an exclusive interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America.

"She didn't give it to me, but she didn't fight," Gneiting continued. "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."

Authorities said the girl brought the gun to school in her backpack and fired multiple rounds just after 9 a.m. May 6, the Associated Press reports. 

Two students were shot along with the school's janitor. All three sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to KIFI

Gneiting said she was in her classroom getting her students ready for final exams when she heard a gunshot. She said she took a look into the hallway and saw the janitor lying on the floor.

After she heard two more gunshots, she told her students, "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 said.

Gneiting said she was helping an injured student when she came across the sixth-grade shooter. 

"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."

Once she took the gun out of the girl's hand, she said she called 911 and hugged the girl until police took her into custody. 

"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."

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The Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office tells PEOPLE that the girl is currently in custody and has been charged. Last month, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor said she could be facing three counts of attempted murder, the East Idaho News reports.

"She is just barely starting in life and she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes," Gneiting said. "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."