CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — 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.
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 expected to be released from the hospital Friday evening, 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.
The gunman made no attempt to hide the weapon when he entered the school from a parking lot and started asking for the teacher by name, Robinson said.
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,” the sheriff 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.
A suspected Molotov cocktail was also found inside the high school, the sheriff said. The bomb squad was investigating the device.
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.