A male student shot and wounded two faculty members at a Denver high school on Wednesday and then fled the scene, spurring a citywide search for his whereabouts, according to city officials.
The shooting at East High School was reported at about 9:50 a.m. and police and medical responders arrived on the scene “very quickly” to find two adult men with gunshot wounds, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said.
One faculty member is in stable condition, and the other is in critical condition, he said.
The student suspected in the shooting, who is under 18, was under a school safety plan in which he was patted down each day, he said. During Wednesday’s search, a handgun was retrieved and several shots were fired in an office area in the front of the school, away from other students and staff, Thomas said.
The student then fled the school, and a search is underway for his whereabouts.
“We are looking for the suspect,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “We will find that suspect, and we will hold that suspect accountable for his actions this morning in placing everyone in danger and certainly wounding the two staff members who were doing their job and trying to keep everyone safe at the time.”
In addition, another student was taken to a hospital because of an allergic reaction, the mayor said. Paramedics were already in the building for that incident when the shooting occurred and so were able to immediately treat those wounded, Hancock said.
East High School has about 2,500 students across 9th through 12th grades and is the largest and highest-performing comprehensive high school of all Denver Public Schools, according to the school system.
The high school is located in the City Park neighborhood of the Colorado capital and is considered a Denver Historic Landmark for its architecture in the Jacobethan Revival style. The clock tower atop the school is similar in style to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the school website notes.
School officials will be implementing a “controlled release” of students once police allow, according to a tweet from Denver Public Schools. Students who commuted themselves will be escorted to their cars, students who ride the bus will be held on campus until their bus arrives, and students who are dropped off by a parent can be picked up from a separate location, the tweet says.
The school will be out of session for the rest of the week following the shooting, Superintendent Alex Marrero said during a news conference. When students return and for the remainder of the school year, two armed officers would be present on campus, he said.