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A hard-as-nails maths teacher in Colorado has received the grateful thanks of his community after barehandedly tackling a gunman who had opened fire at his school.

The BBC reports that a suspect named as Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, 32, allegedly commenced firing at pupils with a rifle in the car park at Deer Trail Middle School in Littleton.

But two-fisted corduroy David Benke, on duty in the car park, responded the moment he heard the first shot fired, tackling Eastwood without hesitation. From his testimony it's clear that, fortunately, the weapon was bolt- or lever-action rather than gas-operated.

"Unfortunately he got another round off before I could grab him," said the heroic Mr Benke, a 6' 5" former college basketball player.

"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."

Another gutsy educator apparently joined Benke and the two swiftly overpowered the obstreperous Eastwood, whose shots had injured two Deer Trail pupils. One of the stricken nippers is said to be doing well in hospital: the other was discharged after treatment.

Eastwood reportedly made bail on Wednesday pending trial. As this was set at a million dollars, he will no doubt attract the attention of top-line bounty hunters should he fail to appear for his court date. [Updated to add: It appears the Beeb's statement that Eastwood "was bailed" is a little misleading. His bail was apparently set at $1m in cash, which has not been forthcoming and thus Eastwood remains behind bars.]

Facebook fan messages for Benke are already in the hundreds, including one from Sherry Erhardt Wynne saying simply: "You saved lives of innocent children, and as a parent, I say thank you. And way to go!"

We've had occasion in these pages now and then to report some dispiriting things about members of the teaching community, but today it's a positive pleasure to write about one who covers his profession with glory.

We'd hazard a bet, too, that Mr Benke has few problems with classroom discipline.

The Beeb writeup is here. ®

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