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Police Searching For 17-Year-Old Gunman Who Opened Fire On School Administrators In Denver

Denver, CO – Denver police are searching for a 17-year-old high school student who shot two of his high school’s administrators on Wednesday morning and then fled the campus.

Denver police identified the gunman as Austin Lyle, a student at East High School, located in the 1600-block of City Park Esplanade, KMGH reported.

A manhunt is underway for the 17 year old, who is still believed to be armed.

Authorities said Lyle is 5-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds, KMGH reported.

At the time of the shooting, the shooter was wearing a green hoodie, according to witnesses.

Police said the suspect may be driving a 2005 red Volvo XC90 with Colorado license plate number BSC-W10, KMGH reported.

Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the first report of the shooting was called into 911 at about 9:50 a.m. on March 22.

Lyle had been on the school district’s radar because of “previous behavior” that had required him to participate in a “safety plan” that included daily searches for weapons when he arrived at school.

Chief Thomas said that the student with the gun was being searched for weapons as part of a school safety plan, KUSA reported.

When a faculty member found a weapon on one of the students, the teenage boy opened fire.

“They were undergoing a search, and during that search, obviously a weapon, a handgun was retrieved and several shots were fired,” Chief Thomas said.

The wounded faculty members were airlifted to Denver Health Medical Center for emergency treatment, KUSA reported.

Hospital spokeswoman Heather Burke identified the wounded school administrators as Jerald Mason and Eric Sinclair, KMGH reported.

Both Mason and Sinclair are listed as deans on the East High School website.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said paramedics were already in the school building responding to somebody who had had an allergic reaction so they were able to quickly provide First Aid to the wounded faculty members.

Chief Thomas said one of the wounded school administrators was taken directly into surgery for treatment of life-threatening injuries and is in critical condition, KUSA reported.

The second wounded faculty member was in serious-but-stable condition but able to talk to investigators about what had happened, according to the police chief.

The school was placed in lockdown but students were released just before noon and the school district announced that classes had been cancelled for Thursday, KMGH reported.

“In terms of what we can expect at East from here until the end of the school year, in collaboration with Chief Thomas and with support from our mayor and also communicated this to the Board of Education, that we will have two armed officers here at East until the end of the school year,” Superintendent Alex Marrero announced in a statement.

Marrero said that safety plans were based on students’ prior behavior and were not uncommon, KMGH reported.

The school district has not released any information about what “past behavior” led to Lyle requiring a physical search on a daily basis.

East High School has been plagued with tragedy this school year.

Denver police already had a presence on campus due to the violence, but the mayor said that going forward, there would be officers in school buildings, KMGH reported.

“I think it’s clear now that we need to do even more interdiction with our police officers inside the buildings in these types of situations,” Hancock said.

Law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions are assisting in the search for the teenage gunman, KMGH reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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