A 17-year-old student shot and wounded two administrators at his high school in Denver on Wednesday, and the victims were taken to area hospitals, officials said. Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the student fled the scene after the shooting at East High School.
Police identified the suspect Wednesday afternoon as Austin Lyle, 17, and posted his picture on social media. The chief didn’t identify the suspect during a press conference earlier because he is a juvenile.
The suspect was described as a Black male who is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. He was believed to be associated with a 2005 red Volvo XC90 with Colorado license plate BSCW10.
According to police, the suspect was last seen wearing a green hooded sweatshirt. Mayor Michael Hancock had earlier said the sweatshirt had an astronaut on it.
“We will find that suspect, and we will hold that suspect accountable for his actions,” Hancock said.
The suspect was wanted for attempted homicide, police said. Thomas said one victim was in critical condition and one was in serious but stable condition.
Both of the victims are men, Thomas said. The two administrators were searching the student in the morning and “a handgun was retrieved and several shots were fired,” the chief said.
“We don’t have any sense of where he is,” the chief said, adding that investigators were trying to speak with people who may know where he may have gone.
Police haven’t recovered the gun used in the shooting, Thomas said. Authorities were searching his home for evidence.
Paramedics were able to “immediately” tend to the wounded men because they were already at the school to treat a student’s allergic reaction, Hancock said.
Students were being released early and the school wouldn’t be open for the rest of the week, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero said.
The student was searched at the beginning of every school day under a “safety plan,” Thomas said. Officials didn’t provide details about the circumstances that led to the daily searches.
The searches were conducted in a secluded office area at the front of the school away from students, Thomas said. A weapon wasn’t found on the student in previous searches, the chief said.
Two armed officers would be assigned to the school until the end of the school year, Marrero said. In a statement, Hancock noted that school resource officers had been removed from the school system, and he called for their return.
“Removing them was a mistake and we must move swiftly to correct it,” the mayor said.
CBS Colorado reports that the shooting happened just a little over a month after 16-year-old Luis Garcia was shot near East High School. He died weeks after the shooting.
According to Denver Public Schools, 10 guns were confiscated from students in Denver schools between the start of the school year and February.