Newtown attack resurrects memories for ex-HPD officer shot in '92 school shooting

December 17, 2012 8:36:03 PM PST
After a mass shooting in Newtown, CT killed 20 children and six adults inside an elementary school, the question many are asking is, would arming teachers with guns make campuses safer? We asked that question to a man who was inside a Houston ISD elementary school classroom with a gun when someone came in and started shooting.

There was a time 20 years ago when the old Piney Point Elementary was attacked by a lone gunman. School was in session and a former HPD officer, who now works for Richmond, was inside the school and had to make a decision.

Thousands of miles away from Newtown, CT, the horror of Friday morning immediately took Richmond Police Sgt. Lowell Neinast back to 1992.

"Pretty much after every school shooting," Neinast said.

It was September, an angry and mentally disturbed father entered Piney Point Elementary with two guns and opened fire.

Neinast, a former Houston police officer, was teaching a DARE class at the time when he heard the shots. He drew his gun but chose not to fire.

"I did not shoot because there were kids everywhere," Neinast said.

Instead, he was shot three times but still continued to push students and teachers out of harms way.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Neinast said.

Neinast knows the two shootings don't even compare but understands the newly energized gun debate, from gun control to conceal and carry laws.

"Could it have turned out differently? Absolutely," he said. "Does that mean there's room for weapons in school? I can't get into that."

He calls the teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary heroes.

"They protected their students and in some cases put their life before those students," Neinast said.

And even with ever present reminders, he doesn't regret what he did or didn't do.

"I have two bullets inside me today," Neinast said. "If I would have ended up shooting the suspect that shot me, I could have lived with that. If I would have ended up hitting one of those kids, absolutely no way."

School security obviously has evolved over the last two decades, and will continue to.

Neinast remembers children and staff running through the halls.

Meanwhile, schools everywhere practice lock down drills and they may become more frequent.

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