December 13, 2013

Colorado school shooter wounds 2, kills self

The gunman, who was a student, was apparently looking for a specific teacher, and left at least one student seriously wounded.

The Associated Press

CENTENNIAL, Colo. –  A teenager who may have had a grudge against a teacher opened fire Friday with a shotgun at a suburban Denver high school, wounding two fellow students before killing himself.

click image to enlarge

Students comfort each other outside of Arapahoe High School after a shooting on the campus in Centennial, Colo., on Friday. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the shooter wounded two students before killing himself.

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

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A sheriff deputy talks on his radio at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., on Friday. A student shot two other students before killing himself, authorities said.

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

Additional Photos Below

Quick-thinking students alerted the targeted teacher, who quickly left the building, and police immediately locked down the scene on the eve of the Newtown massacre anniversary, a somber reminder of how commonplace school violence has become.

One of the wounded students, a girl, was hospitalized in serious condition. The other student suffered minor gunshot-related injuries and was released from the hospital hours later, authorities said.

A third person was being treated for unspecified injuries but had not been shot, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson initially reported that the most seriously hurt student was wounded after confronting the gunman, but he later said that did not appear to be the case.

Authorities did not publicly name the suspect, who, according to the sheriff, made no attempt to hide the weapon after entering the school from a parking lot and asking for the teacher by name.

When the teacher learned that he was being targeted, he left "in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school," Robinson said. "That was a very wise tactical decision."

Jessica Girard was in math class when she heard three shots.

"Then there was a bunch of yelling, and then I think one of the people who had been shot was yelling in the hallway 'Make it stop,'" she said.

Two suspected Molotov cocktails were also found inside the school, the sheriff said. One detonated, though no one was injured.

Within 20 minutes of the first report of a gunman, officers found the suspect's body inside the school, Robinson said.

Several other Denver-area school districts went into lockdown as reports of the shooting spread. Police as far away as Fort Collins, about a two-hour drive north, stepped up school security.

Arapahoe High students were seen walking toward the school's running track with their hands in the air, and television footage showed students being patted down. Robinson said deputies wanted to make sure there were no other conspirators. Authorities later concluded that the gunman had acted alone.

Nearby neighborhoods were jammed with cars as parents sought out their children. Some parents stood in long lines at a church. One young girl who was barefoot embraced her parents, and the family began to cry.

The shooting came a day before the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., attack in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Arapahoe High stands just 8 miles east of Columbine High School in Littleton, where two teenage shooters killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. The practice of sending law enforcement directly into an active shooting, as was done Friday, was a tactic that developed in response to the Columbine shooting.

Since Columbine, Colorado has endured other mass shootings, including the killing of 12 people in a movie theater in nearby Aurora in 2012. But it was not until after the Newtown massacre that state lawmakers moved to enact stricter gun-control laws. Two Democratic lawmakers were recalled from office earlier this year for backing the laws, and a third recently resigned to avoid a recall election.

The district attorney prosecuting the theater shooting, George Brauchler, lives near Arapahoe High. At a news conference, he urged anyone who needed help to call a counseling service and gave out a phone number.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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In this image taken from video provided by Fox 31 Denver, students gather just outside of Arapahoe High School as police respond to reports of a shooting Friday.

AP Photo/KDVR

  


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