Student accused of shooting teachers in Denver high school found dead

March 23, 2023

Victims were taken to local hospital where one was listed in critical condition and undergoing surgery

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Police officers stand guard outside the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center after a shooting at a motorcycle show at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Evan Semon

The student who was accused of shooting and wounding two faculty members at his Denver high school has been found dead near his vehicle in Park County.

The Park County Coroner's Office confirmed in a Facebook post that the body belonged to 17-year-old Austin Lyle, who shot faculty members as they were patting him down for weapons as part of a "safety plan" devised for the youth based on previous behavioural issues.

The East High School student fled the shooting scene on foot immediately after Wednesday's violence, which unfolded just before 10 a.m. local time (1600 GMT).

Denver Police Department had said in a tweet that a body was located near the suspect's vehicle, adding that the identity and cause of death would be determined by the Park County Medical Examiner's Office.

"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 earlier.

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 other staff members 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 neighbourhood, for the rest of the current academic year, said Alex Marrero, the district superintendent.

Classes for the school's 2,500 students will be cancelled for the rest of the week, Marrero said.

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