A Denver high school student whose past behavior had prompted school officials to require that he be searched before entering the school shot two school administrators on Wednesday morning and then fled, the authorities said.
The shooting happened before 10 a.m. at East High School, when the two administrators were patting down the student in an office area separate from other students and found a gun, according to the Denver Police Department. The student fired several shots, injuring both administrators.
The two men were transported to an area hospital, where one was in critical condition and the other in serious and stable condition, Chief Ron Thomas of the Denver Police Department said at a news conference. The suspect had not been caught, and officials did not release his name or age beyond saying he was under 18.
The chief said that the suspect, a student at the school, had a safety plan in place that required that he be searched before entering the school each day. It was unclear what kind of behavior might have prompted the safety check requirement, or how many other students were on the safety plan. The school district did not immediately respond to inquiries on Wednesday.
“We do know who that individual is and a search is underway to try and locate that particular individual,” Chief Thomas said.
He added that the student had been previously searched “and had never had a weapon on him before.”
Superintendent Alex Marrero of Denver Public Schools said such plans were “particular for each individual student” and that they were based on past behavior.
“This is common for all schools in all districts,’’ he added.
The school, which has about 2,500 students, was under lockdown and will be closed for the rest of the week, Mr. Marrero said at the news conference. In 2020, Denver Public Schools voted to remove school resource officers from its schools and ended its contract with the Denver Police Department, according to the district’s website. Chief Thomas said at the news conference on Wednesday that there would be two armed police officers stationed at the school for the remainder of the year.
In recent years, school shootings by students whose behavior had been flagged to administrators have prompted calls for faster action in the face of threats. A 6-year-old shot his teacher in Virginia in January despite what the teacher’s lawyer described as escalating warnings that the child had a gun. At one high school in Oxford, Mich., where a shooting killed four students in 2021, safety policies were overlooked, former school board members claimed.
The Denver shooting came weeks after students at East High School held a memorial for a fellow student, Luis Garcia, who died after a shooting outside the public school, according to The Denver Post.
Mr. Garcia, who was 16 and a soccer player at the school, died on March 1, according to Denver Police. The shooting prompted students to walk out of the school over safety precautions and gun legislation.
A fund-raiser set up by his teammates has raised more than $200,000 for funeral expenses.