Denver school staffers shot by student who was patted down daily

A student who was under a “safety plan” and had agreed to be patted down every morning shot two staff members at a Denver high school Wednesday and remains at large, officials said.

Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said police were called about 9:50 a.m. and discovered the wounded East High School administrators.

“During that search, obviously a weapon was retrieved,” he said. “A handgun was retrieved, and several shots were fired.”

Police are looking for the 17-year-old suspect, who they believe to be traveling in a 2005 red Volvo XC90 with the license plate BSCW10.

The student was under a “safety plan” that required him to be patted down every morning, Thomas told reporters. He fled the school but a search is underway.

The weapon was not recovered at the school.

Police said the student had never been found with a weapon prior to Wednesday morning’s incident. They did not say how long the student had been under the safety plan, which meant he was searched every morning in the school’s office, away from students and other staff.

East High School in Denver.
East High School in Denver.Google maps

Denver officials did not say why the student was under the safety plan, citing federal student privacy laws.

Mayor Michael Hancock said one of the staff members was stable and the other underwent surgery.

East High School recently lost a student, Luis Garcia, after he was shot and killed Feb. 13 while sitting in a car near the campus, NBC affiliate KUSA reported. The death of Garcia, a soccer player at the school, sparked a student-led campaign for gun safety reform.

Students led a walkout March 3 and went to the state Capitol to demand legislative action, according to KUSA.

Gracie Taub, the co-lead for East High School’s chapter of Students Demand Action, said in a statement tweeted from the organization’s account that this was the “reality” of American youth.

“This is the reality of being young in America: sitting through a shooting and waiting for information just hours before you’re scheduled to testify in support of gun safety bills,” Taub said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the shooting tragic and wished a swift recovery for the injured.

“Our students should and must be able to attend school without fear for their safety, their parents deserve the peace of mind that their children are safe in classrooms, and teachers should be able to work safely and without harm,” Polis said.

The governor also acknowledged that the school shooting occurred exactly two years after 10 people were killed in Boulder when a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store.

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