A Californian teacher who talked a teenage gunman into handing over his loaded shotgun has been praised by police and credited with saving the lives of his class.
Ryan Heber, a science teacher at the Union High School in Taft, where one student was left in a critical condition following America's latest school shooting on Thursday, confronted the 16-year-old gunman seconds after he had shot his first victim.
"I don't want to shoot you," the gunman reportedly told Mr Heber, who had been grazed by a pellet but was still able to coax the teenager into giving up his weapon with the help of a female campus supervisor who had rushed to the classroom after hearing three shotgun blasts.
"This teacher and this counsellor stood there face to face, not knowing if he was going to shoot them," the local sheriff, Donny Youngblood, said.
"They probably expected the worst and hoped for the best, but they gave the students a chance to escape. The heroics of these two goes without saying."
Police said the young gunman, who has not been named because he is a minor, had planned the event as a revenge attack against two other students who had bullied him. His pockets were stuffed with more than 30 shotgun cartridges.
However, there remain doubts over whether new gun laws banning assault rifles will pass Congress. (© Daily Telegraph, London)