SPARKS, Nev. -- It came as no surprise to Michael Landsberry's family that the Sparks Middle School math teacher was being called a hero for trying to convince a student to put his gun down moments before Lansberry was killed.
The shooting rampage Monday also left two students wounded. The shooter then fatally shot himself.
"To hear he was trying to protect those kids, that he stepped up and tried to stop the situation, doesn't surprise me at all," said Chanda Landsberry, who is married to Michael's younger brother, Reggie. "He could have ducked and hid, but he didn't. That's not who he is."
"He was trained to help."
Lansberry, a member of the Nevada Air National Guard, leaves behind his wife and two stepdaughters.
Tom Robinson, deputy chief with the Reno Police Department, said that "in my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene."
Student Jose Cazares said he was hanging out with friends when they heard what they thought were firecrackers. He said he saw a boy shoot two students. He said the boy then aimed the gun at his chest, but Landsberry stepped between him and the shooter.
"He was telling him to stop and put the gun down. Then the kid, he yelled out 'No!' Like, he was yelling at him, and he shot him," Jose told NBC's Today show Tuesday. "He (Landsberry) was calm, he was holding out his hand like, 'put the gun in my hand.'"
Cazares said the shooter later threatened to shoot them if they identified him to authorities, then moved on.
Landsberry "sacrificed his life to take our kids into safety," Marisela Cazares toldToday. ''I thank him for that. He's a true hero."
Chanda Landsberry said her brother-in-law, who received bachelor's degree in education from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2001, loved teaching.
"He loved his school kids. He loved the Guard," she said. "It defined him."
His students shared the pain of his loss in an outpouring of heartfelt messages on social media, and shared photos of their teacher, showing his playfulness in the classroom.
Landsberry kept a math website to help his students get through each year called "Welcome to Mr. L's Math Class for 2013-2014."
"I have one classroom rule and it is very simple: 'Thou Shall Not Annoy Mr. L,'" the site said. "I am looking forward to getting to know and teach all of you this year. I know that at times the year will be tough and boring but I will do my best to make the lessons exciting."
Some of his students said Landsberry loved Batman so much that many used the title as his nickname.
One student wrote on Twitter "you'll always be known as everyone's Batman, you're a hero. RIP Mr. Landsberry." Another wrote: "Batman flew up with the angels."
Others created a community Facebook page called "Rest Easy Mr. Landsberry." The statement on the site says: "Best Teacher There Was. Our 'Batman' A Father, Husband, Best Friend, Veteran, Coach. He's In A Better Place Now. Gone But Never Forgotten.'Thou Shall Not Annoy Mr. L'."
The 2012 Winter addition of Battle Born, published by the Nevada National Guard lists Technical Sgt Michael Landsberry as being part of the 152nd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The publication and two others state that he served overseas.
On Monday, he died outside his classroom trying to stop a boy with a gun.
(Contributing: Associated Press)