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Hawaii heroes among Carnegie honorees

  • Courtesy Sean Freiberg
    Flames consumed a two-story Waialua home on Crozier Drive within minutes on

PITTSBURGH » A Nevada middle school teacher who was killed trying to stop a seventh-grader armed with a gun is one of 22 people being honored with a Carnegie Medal for heroism.

Students say 45-year-old Michael Landsberry walked calmly toward 12-year-old Jose Reyes at Sparks Middle School and asked for the weapon before Jose fatally shot him Oct. 21, 2013.

Jose had already shot one student in the shoulder in the play yard before classes began that day, and a former Washoe County school district police chief said Landsberry’s actions gave other students time to run for cover.

The boy ended up wounding another student and firing two more shots into the wing of the school before fatally shooting himself to end the siege.

The new honorees, who will be formally announced Thursday, include three others who died trying to save others.

Ronald LaRue, of Mayfield, Kentucky, died attempting to save his 5-year-old grandson from drowning in the Penobscot River in Maine on Aug. 8, 2014. Karen Wessel, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, died after helping save an 8-year-old boy from drowning in a Wisconsin lake on July 22, 2014. And Tou Hu Vang, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, died trying to save his nephew from drowning May 25, 2014.

A Canadian man, William Ayotte, of Churchill, Manitoba, used a snow shovel to save a woman from a polar bear attack Nov. 1, 2013. Ayotte ended up being injured by the bear.

The other 17 winners are from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and the Canadian province of Ontario.

The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.

The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash several times a year. It has given away $37.5 million 9,797 awardees or their families since 1904.

Winners of Carnegie Medals being formally announced Thursday:

— Liane Heather Wood, 42, and Daniel Marvin Wood, 43, of Frankford, Ontario, rescued a 13-year-old girl from drowning in a vehicle that crashed into a river in February 2013.

— Ronald LaRue, 54, of Mayfield, Kentucky, drowned while trying to save his 5-year-old grandson from drowning in August 2014.

— Joel Kevin Kyle Jr., 29, of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, saved a 23-month-old boy from a burning home in May 2014.

— Phillip Ashley Grigg, 63, of Phoenix, Arizona, who was shot and wounded while saving a police officer from an attack by an armed robbery suspect in December 2013.

— Gary A. Golding Jr., 46, of Redondo Beach, California, and Kevin Patrick Cotter, 17, of Palos Verdes Estates, California, tried to save a man from drowning, and Robert McNulty, 39, of Burbank, California, eventually saved him in July 2014.

— William Ayotte, 69, of Churchill, Manitoba, used a snow shovel to save a woman from a polar bear attack in November 2013.

— Mark James Hoffman, 50, of Aristes, Pennsylvania, saved a 79-year-old woman from drowning after her car rolled into a lake in August 2014.

— Kory Kern Kocher, 37, of Waialua, Hawaii, saved a 90-year-old woman from a burning home in August 2014.

— Isaac G. Pinsonneault, 16, of Chatham, Ontario, helped save a 21-year-old man from drowning in a lake in August 2014.

— Kirby Crump, 53, of West Jordan, Utah, helped save a 56-year-old pilot from burning in a small plane crash in August 2014.

— Michael T. Landsberry, 45, of Sparks, Nevada, was fatally shot trying to stop a 12-year-old school shooter who wounded two others before killing himself in October 2013.

— Brian Wargo, 45, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, saved a 34-year-old surfer friend from a shark attack in October 2014.

— Charles Wyant, 39, of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, saved a 53-year-old man from a burning dump truck that crashed into a creek in January.

— Karen Wessel, 47, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, died while helping save an 8-year-old girl from drowning in July 2014.

— Tou Hu Vang, 21, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, died while trying to save his 11-year-old nephew from drowning, and Kenphenyeehu Hawj, of Ham Lake, Minnesota, ultimately rescued the boy in May 2014.

— Gregorio V. Monge, 35, of San Bernardino, California, attempted to rescue a 91-year-old man from a burning home in May 2014.

— Russell Allen Hill, 60, of Indianapolis, Indiana, saved a 12-year-old boy from being attacked by pit bulls in November 2014.

— Earl Heath Wickline, 62, of Londonderry, New Hampshire, saved a 58-year-old man from burning in a crashed vehicle in January 2013.

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