East High shooting: Police say they’ve found a body near the suspected shooter’s car in Park County. One victim remains in the hospital.
The Park County coroner identified the body as the 17-year-old suspect Thursday morning.
Updated March 23, 2023 at 11:30 a.m.
Law enforcement found the body of the alleged 17-year-old East High late Wednesday night. Read more about that and how students planned to protest on Thursday here.
Also, in response to the shooting and angry parents, Denver Public Schools superintendent Alex Marrero said armed officers would once again be posted at East High and the city’s largest comprehensive high schools for the remainder of the school year.
Our original story follows below.
Students plan to protest Thursday after two East High School administrators were injured in a shooting reported at the school Wednesday morning.
The two victims were identified as Eric Sinclair, a dean of culture, and Jerald Mason, coordinator in restorative practice, according to a Denver Health spokesperson. Sinclair was in critical condition and underwent surgery, which stabilized him; Mason was released after being treated for his injuries.
The suspected shooter fled the school. His car was later found on CR 68 in Park County and a shelter-in-place order was issued at 5 p.m.
Late Wednesday night, the Park County Sheriff’s Office said they found a body near the car, but they did not immediately identify the body. However, authorities removed the shelter-in-place order for the area at that time.
The Park County Coroner’s Office confirmed early Thursday morning that the body found was the suspect’s. The cause of death will be announced when a full autopsy is completed. The teenager’s next-of-kin was notified, according to officials. No further details have been disclosed.
No other related injuries were reported at the school, but one student was taken to the hospital for an unrelated allergic reaction. Paramedics were already at the school to respond to that incident when the shooting occurred.
The shooting was reported around 9:50 a.m.
Denver Police identified the alleged shooter as a 17-year-old East High student.
The student was being searched by administrators as part of a school safety plan. They found a handgun during the search. As it was being confiscated, shots were fired.
Police executed a search warrant at his home but did not find him there.
Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said he believes the weapon has not been recovered.
“This particular student had a safety plan in place where they were to be searched at the beginning of every day,” said Thomas.
The search took place away from other students and faculty in the school’s office area.
The student was expelled from Overland High School in the Cherry Creek School District last school year for “violating board policy,” a spokesperson for the district said but did not offer more specific details citing federal law.
Close to 6 p.m., Denver police said they found the alleged shooter’s vehicle in Park County, southwest of Denver.
Parents were told to pick up their children at 17th Avenue and Esplanade. There, they angrily demanded more security at school from officials like Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendent and Denver Police Thomas.
Hancock arrived at East shortly after reports of the shooting and spoke at a press conference with Marrero and Thomas.
“Nothing trumps the safety of our young people in this building and the faculty and staff, and we feel for them right now,” said Hancock. “This should never — as a parent, I could tell you — never be a concern of a parent whether or not their kids are safe in their building.
“So Chief Thomas and Dr. Marrero and the DPS Board of Education and I are committed to making sure we do everything we can to keep our young people and the faculty and staff at these buildings safe,” Hancock added.
“We just buried Luis”: Read more about how parents responded to Wednesday’s shooting and how the school district responded.
Marrero said East High School will be closed for the rest of this week. Spring break starts on Monday.
Denver Public Schools cut its school resource officers — armed police in its buildings. Whether they should be reintroduced is a hot topic in the 2023 municipal election.
Marrero did not address questions about why armed officers were not conducting safety-check searches that likely involved weapons.
Both the mayor and Marrero indicated conversations about reintroducing those officers have begun.
“We will have two armed officers here at East until the end of the school year,” Marrero said. “We’re looking forward to expanding the conversation to see how we can reestablish a relationship with presence at our schools in particular our high schools.”
The Board of Education has canceled its Thursday meeting and replaced it with an executive session about school safety.
East High School has faced multiple active-shooter threats this year and students have gone on lockdown regularly.
In September, two people were shot nearby, at the Carla Madison Rec Center.
Just over a week later, there were reports of an active shooter, and the school went on lockdown before the threat was proven unfounded.
In February, student Luis Garcia was shot outside the school and died two weeks later.
The school is still in mourning over Garcia’s death. A poster celebrates his life in the entrance and wilted flowers cover the large letter “E” in front of the school.
Parents arrived at East straight from work, some still wearing scrubs and uniforms, frantically calling and sending messaging.
This was not the first time they’ve gone through an emergency pick-up.
“It’s just really unbelievable to me that this is something that we’ve been living all year at East — in our first year in a school this size,” said early childhood educator Amie Miller-Hubach, who was picking up her child, a first year student at East.
“It’s really disheartening that this is something that our children have to think about and that as parents that we have to be ready to respond to any day, that families are losing their children here.
“It’s scary and feels a little hopeless sometimes, especially just coming out of the last tragedy that these families have lived through and the staff has lived through.”
This story has been updated with comments from parents, police, Mayor Michael Hancock, and more details about the shooting.
Denverite reporters Rebecca Tauber and Kevin J. Beaty and CPR News reporters Allison Sherry, Ben Marcus, Paolo Zialcita, Jenny Brundin and Hart Van Denburg contributed reporting to this story.