Inside Sources: ‘After I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug’: Teacher describes Idaho school shooting

May 20, 2021, 4:03 PM
Idaho school shooting...
(Officers leave Rigby Middle School after a shooting in Rigby, Idaho, on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Associated Press)
(Officers leave Rigby Middle School after a shooting in Rigby, Idaho, on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Associated Press)

This is an editorial. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

A teacher ends a school shooting in Idaho earlier this month by disarming the shooter with a hug.

Idaho school shooting

May 6  9 a.m.: Rigby, Idaho, middle school teacher Krista Gneiting heard the gunshot down the hallway. When she looked outside her classroom door, she saw the janitor lying on the floor. She shut the door.

Two more rounds are fired.

 A sixth grade student opened fire, wounding two students and one adult, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The girl shot two of the victims in the hallway before moving outside and shooting a third victim, the sheriff’s office said. All three victims are released from a hospital in a few days, according to ABC News.

Gneiting told ABC News she was helping one of the students who had been shot, when she saw a girl holding the gun.

Gneiting approached the girl and asked “Are you the shooter?”

Ask a question

She didn’t yell. She didn’t scream. She didn’t demand. She asked a question. We’ve talked about this on this show in the past, the power of asking a question. I often subscribe to the rule if you must speak, ask a question. Krista Gneiting asked the ultimate question.

That is an extraordinary lesson that I think many of us have missed in the headline of “One More School Shooting.” 

“I put my hand over her hand, and I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand, and she allowed me to. And then after I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug.” Gneiting said.

Try softer

We talked about how disconnected so many of us have become during the course of this pandemic. Human touch is a powerful thing.

Being in a space mentally where you are shooting at other human beings — to be held and hugged in that way had to be the most disarming thing of all.

[Gneiting] didn’t rush. Every instinct, you would have as a human being, she did the opposite. She chose to ask a question, rather than to yell or make a statement or a demand. She chose to touch softly, rather than hit or harm.

“She’s just barely starting in life,” the math teacher said. “And she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes. 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.”

This was a moment that mattered, so do not miss it in the headline about just another school shooting.

I encourage everyone to go back, listen and read what this teacher taught us — not just about how to handle an extraordinary challenging situation. But to handle a lot of the things that we deal with every single day. It starts with a hug and a willingness to have compassion for those who have wronged us, who have been unfair to us. Then move forward with forgiveness.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Inside Sources: ‘After I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug’: Teacher describes Idaho school shooting