Denver police search for student accused of shooting two faculty members
DENVER – Police were searching on Wednesday for a Denver high school student who shot and wounded two faculty members as they were patting him down for weapons as part of a “safety plan” devised for the youth based on previous behavioral issues, officials said.
The East High School student, identified by police as 17-year-old Austin Lyle, fled the shooting scene on foot immediately after Wednesday’s violence, which unfolded just before 10 a.m. local time (1600 GMT).
“This particular student had a safety plan that was in place where they were to be searched at the beginning of the school day every day,” Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas told reporters during a news conference.
Neither police nor education authorities disclosed the specific conduct that led the school to adopt an individualized security protocol for the student. A wanted bulletin issued after the shooting included a photo of the student and of a car similar to one he might be driving.
The dean of the school and another staff member were conducting the search when several shots were fired, and the student fled, apparently still armed with the handgun used in the attack.
The two victims were taken to an area hospital where one was listed in critical condition and undergoing surgery, and the other was in serious but stable condition, Thomas said.
The bloodshed came three years after the Denver school board voted to eliminate its program of assigning armed city police officers, known as school resources officers, to its public school campuses, relying instead on the school district’s own security team.
In light of Wednesday’s shooting, two armed police officers will be returned to East High School, located in Denver’s City Park neighborhood, for the rest of the current academic year, said Alex Marrero, the district superintendent.
Classes for the school’s 2,500 students will be canceled for the rest of the week, Marrero said.
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