A 17-year-old suspect in a shooting at Denver High School that injured two school administrators on Wednesday was found dead in a nearby county after the shooting, officials said.
Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said the body was found in a remote mountainous area about 50 miles southwest of Denver near the small town of Bailey in Park County, not far from the vehicle that was being searched after the shooting. Discovered.
The town had been ordered to evacuate on the spot while officers from many agencies, including the FBI, searched the woods.
The county coroner’s office said early Thursday morning that the body had been identified as a suspect in the shooting. reported by NBC News.
The coroner’s office said the death investigation is still ongoing and details will not be provided until an autopsy is completed.
his corpse Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw told NBC News by phone.
Authorities said the shooting occurred at Denver’s East High School, where two administrators were searching the suspect for the shooting with a gun. Run away after firing.
It occurred at a school rocked by frequent lockdowns and violence, including the recent outside school killing of a classmate who prompted East High School students to march on the Colorado State Capitol earlier this month. Parents gathered at the campus, which houses 2,500 students, to express frustration that authorities have not taken sufficient steps to protect their children.
“I’m sick of it,” said Jessie Haas, who planned to discuss with her daughter about skipping classes until the end of the school year.
Amid a flood of criticism of lax security, Denver school officials said the city’s public high schools would be reinserted with armed police after the shooting.
Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the school resource officer was not on campus when the shooting occurred Wednesday.
The shooting took place in the office area just before 10 a.m., officials said, as the suspect was being searched as part of a “safety plan.”
The gun used in the shooting was not immediately recovered, Thomas said.
One of the injured administrators was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, while the other remains in a serious condition, Denver Health Hospital spokesman Heather Burke said.
On March 3, hundreds of students skipped class and advocated for tougher gun laws following the death of 16-year-old Luis Garcia, who was shot while sitting in his car near East High School. marched.
In June 2020, in the midst of a summer of protests over racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd, Denver Public Schools decided to phase out the use of police officers on school buildings across the United States. became one of the districts. The pressure was fueled by criticism that school resource officers had wrongfully arrested black students and swept them into the criminal justice system.
After Wednesday’s shooting, two armed police officers were stationed at East High School until the end of the school year, and high schools in other cities will each have officers, said Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero.
In a letter Wednesday to the city’s school board, Marrero said his decision violated district policy, but added that he “can no longer sit on the sidelines.”
“I am the leader of this school district and responsible for keeping our academics and staff safe every day,” he wrote.
School gun violence is becoming increasingly common in the United States, with more than 1,300 recorded shootings between 2000 and June 2022, according to government researchers. These shootings killed 377 people and injured 1,025, according to a database maintained by researchers.
East High School students were scheduled to testify before the Colorado legislature on Wednesday afternoon about the gun safety bill.
“This is the reality of America’s youth: sitting in a shootout hours before I’m scheduled to testify in support of a gun safety bill, waiting for information,” said Gracie Taub, a 16-year-old East High School sophomore. Told. Volunteered at Student Request Action in Colorado.
The shooting suspect transferred to East High School after being reprimanded and expelled from nearby Aurora high school last school year for unspecified violations of school policy, according to the Cherry Creek School District. spokesperson Lauren Snell said.
Marrero said student safety plans are enacted according to “past educational and behavioral experiences,” adding that it’s a common practice across public schools in Colorado. He did not give any further details as to why he was searched.
But Franci Clepaud-Hobson, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver who specializes in preventing violence in schools, said it’s rarely the everyday disrespect.
“Obviously they were worried,” said Clepau Hobson. “Without the history of children carrying weapons, I can’t imagine them doing that.”
According to Christine Harms of the Colorado School Safety Resource Center, safety plans often follow student threatening or suicidal behavior.
East High School, not far from downtown, was on lockdown as police investigated a shooting, with hundreds of parents lining the streets outside the school.
Some parents and students surrounded the police chief to vent their complaints about violence at school. Thomas listened quietly, nodded, and promised to work with the school board.
A man at the edge of the crowd said he needed to recall members of the city’s school board for removing police from his school, telling a nearby police officer, “I just want you to be able to do your job.” said.
In the wake of the shootings, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that President Joe Biden had called for stricter gun control, including a ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines, and that Congress had questioned “what if” about gun control. I repeated what I asked you to do.
Wednesday also marked the second anniversary of the shooting of 10 people in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
Associated Press reporter Sarah Brumfield is in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Matthew Brown is in Billings, Mont. contributed.
Bedayn is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.