It was only a coincidence that the Colorado State University system banned concealed weapons on its campuses yesterday hours before a gunman shot two students at Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, reopening the still-tender, 11-year-old wounds of Columbine. The incident might have turned out worse had it not been for the quick thinking of math teacher David Benke, who was not armed but nevertheless tackled the gunman, Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, a 32-year-old convicted felon, as he tried to reload after shooting two students (via Fox31). “I was on parking lot duty handling the crosswalk and I heard a sound like someone had put a firecracker in a trashcan. I turned around and saw this guy with a gun,” Benke tells 9News. “Unfortunately, he got another round off before I could grab him.” When it was over, Eastwood, who has a history of mental health issues and was a student at Deer Creek in the ’90s, was in jail and two students were hospitalized: Reagan Weber, who is recovering, and Matt Thieu, in critical condition, according to The Denver Post, which also has video of the scene afterward.
Benke is being hailed a hero by some, including fans of a Facebook page, which in mere hours grew to include more than a thousand people. As Post columnist Mike Littwin writes, “We look for heroes in these situations. They comfort us. We want good to overcome evil, and we want sanity to overcome insanity.” Eastwood is expected to appear before a judge this morning. Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that “states are engaged in a new and largely successful push for expanded gun rights, even passing measures that have been rejected in the past.”