Another school shooting. The shooter is an adult. The target were students at a middle school just a few miles from Columbine High School. This time, the staff and police were ready.
It was the sound of gunfire.
Benke, a 57-year-old teacher who has been at the school for a decade and whom students call "Dr. Benke," walked toward the sound and saw a man stooped over a rifle filling the chamber with another round.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to grab him before he got a second shot off," Benke said from his home in Littleton. "I grabbed him, and I think he dropped the gun. Basically we danced around."
Benke said he merely walked briskly, as a teacher does, toward a man with a gun. Reflecting on it hours later, Benke said it was stupid.
"After I figured out that he had a gun and that it wasn't a firecracker, I realized that it was a bolt-action rifle and I couldn't get him," he said. "I kind of figured it out as I was walking toward him."
"I think when it's all said and done, we'll find there are some heroes in our midst at the school," said Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
"If it wasn't for him, you'd have a worse situation," said bus driver Steve Potter. "He risked everything."
Roughly three hours after the shooting, a Facebook page had been created — Dr. David Benke Is A Hero!!!! By 11 p.m., the page had more than 7,100 members.
Commenters praised Benke's actions outside the school building.
"What you did for those kids today goes beyond heroism. You saved lives plain and simple," wrote Mistie Lamb.
Neighbors came to Benke's doorway to drop off cards of thanks.
Neighbor Sandy Rinow said she was proud of Benke, who is a neighborhood champion, sharing food from his garden, organizing cul-de-sac parties and playing with his kids.
"I guess I couldn't know he would do something like this, but I guess it wouldn't surprise me," she said, adding she has always been impressed that Benke, with a Ph.D., opts to teach middle school math.
"I just think that's amazing to even know a hero," she said. "You never think you're going to know anybody. You can really see that he cares about his kids. He's a normal, everyday guy."
Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson also lauded the actions.
"We do extensive training, but sometimes courage takes over," she said. "There are amazing, courageous employees that performed with incredible heroism and strength. We are fortunate that we had people who sprang into action and saved the lives of several children."
Thanks to the quick actions of teacher Dr. David Benke and other co-workers, additional injuries were prevented and lives were saved.