A student shot two school administrators at East High School in Denver Wednesday morning. Speaking at a press conference, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the shooting happened just before 10 AM during a security screening of a student.
“As part of a safety plan they were undergoing a search. During that search obviously, a weapon was retrieved. A handgun was retrieved and several shots were fired, striking those two individuals,” Thomas said.
The two shooting victims were transported to local hospitals, where one underwent surgery. The suspect, who police later identified as 17-year-old Austin Lyle, fled from the scene.
Police found Lyle’s vehicle Wednesday afternoon in Park County and his body near the car later that evening.
East High will be closed for the rest of this week. Dr. Alex Marrero, superintendent of the Denver Public Schools said they will increase security at the school for the rest of the school year. He added that school district officials are looking at returning police officers, or school resource officers, to schools.In 2020 the district voted to end its relationship with the Denver Police Department.
“We will have two armed officers here at East until the end of the school year and we’re looking forward to expanding that conversation to see how we can reestablish a relationship with our schools and particularly our high schools,” Marrero said.
Wednesday’s shootings came 6 weeks after 16-year-old student Luis Garcia was shot in his car outside the school. He died two weeks later. That shooting prompted hundreds of students to march on the state capitol earlier this month demanding action on gun violence.
Clara Taub, a sophomore at East High, spoke at the Capitol on March 3. She said it’s a scary time to be a student: “I think as students we are especially vulnerable because we don’t have a lot of control and there’s a lot of youth violence right now, especially in Denver, so we’re really just trying to make that change and protect our peers, protect our friends, by doing things like this.”
Democrats at the state house have introduced two gun reform bills. One would allow people to sue gun manufacturers and another that would expand red flag laws. Some East High students had been scheduled to testify in favor of the bills on Wednesday. Some family members of people killed in the King Soopers shooting in Boulder did testify on what was also the second anniversary of the shooting.