Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Teacher praised for tackling US school shooting suspect

David Benke, 24 February 2010
Mr Benke tackled the suspected gunman in the school car park

A teacher has been hailed a hero after tackling a man accused of opening fire at a school in the US city of Denver.

Maths teacher David Benke brought down Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, 32, who has been charged with attempted murder.

The 6.5ft (1.96m) former college basketball player pinned Mr Eastwood to the ground after he allegedly opened fire with a rifle, injuring two pupils.

Police said the actions of Mr Benke and another teacher almost certainly prevented worse bloodshed.

Mr Eastwood was bailed for $1m during a brief court hearing on Wednesday.

Mr Benke's intervention has been widely praised, with a fan-page on the social networking website Facebook attracting more than 20,000 followers.

Among the hundreds of messages posted on the site, one posted by Sherry Erhardt Wynne read: "You saved lives of innocent children, and as a parent, I say thank you. And way to go!"

Another, posted by Jake Woodzboy Dodenhoff, read: "It's people like you that this world needs."

'Struggling around'

The teacher, who was on duty in the car park at Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, said he went to investigate after he heard what sounded like a firework.

"Unfortunately he got another round off before I could grab him," said Mr Benke of his efforts to tackle the suspect.

"He figured out that he wasn't going to be able to get another round chambered before I got to him so he dropped the gun and then we were kind of struggling around trying to get him subdued."

One of the injured pupils is said to be "doing well" in hospital, while the other was discharged after being treated.

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