Tragic Denver High School Shooting Leaves Suspect Dead, Coroner Confirms

by Ethan Kim
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In Denver, an investigation was conducted by the coroner’s office which revealed that a 17-year-old student who was accused of shooting two school administrators at his high school had been found dead in a nearby woods near an abandoned car.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Tom McGraw of Park County found a body near a car in the mountains about 50 miles away from Denver. There is a small town named Bailey right next to this area, and it had to stay inside while several police organisations including the FBI searched the nearby forest.

Earlier in the day, police figured out that Austin Lyle was the suspect. The coroner also shared on Facebook that it was indeed Lyle’s body. They didn’t say what killed him yet since they haven’t completed an autopsy analysis.

The shooting happened near downtown Denver at East High School. Two teachers were looking through Lyle for weapons as part of their normal routine because he had some behavior issues. After firing shots, Lyle left the scene quickly.

East High School has had a lot of issues recently, like lockdowns and even a classmate being killed outside the school. Because of this, some students decided to march at the Colorado Capitol to show their frustration toward the authorities for not doing enough to protect them. Parents came to the 2,500-student campus on Wednesday and expressed their dissatisfaction with how things were handled.

Jesse Haase was super frustrated and said she wanted to talk to her daughter about not going to school anymore this year. After the shooting event happened in one of the Denver public high schools, people complained about not having enough security there. As a reaction to that, the officials from School announced they would start putting guards with weapons inside all the city’s public high schools. At the time of Wednesday’s shooting, there were no officers on campus reported Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas.

Around 10 a.m. there was an incident where someone got shot in an office. The person who got shot, Lyle, had to go through a pat down as part of their safety measures every day. Unfortunately, the weapon wasn’t found and two administrators got injured during this ordeal – one was released from the hospital already but the second is still in serious condition.

On March 3, hundreds of students left school and marched together to ask for tighter gun rules after Luis Garcia, a 16-year-old student, was shot while he was in his car near East High School.

In June 2020, Denver Public Schools joined many other school districts across the US in response to the widespread protests against racial injustice caused by the death of George Floyd. They decided to no longer use police officers in these schools. People argued that police were disproportionately arresting Black students and pushing them into the criminal justice system, which is why this move was made.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero announced that two armed officers will be placed at East High School until the end of the school year and each other city high school will also have one officer. In a letter to the Board of Education on Wednesday, he said his decision goes against district policies, but he felt he had no other option.

The person in charge of keeping the students and staff safe at our district said they support his decision. Gun violence in schools has been happening a lot more often in America lately. There have been over 1300 shooting cases since 2000 and these incidents have caused 377 people to die and 1,025 people to get hurt.

Students from East High School were meant to go speak in front of the Colorado Legislature on Wednesday afternoon about gun safety bills. Gracie Taub, a sixteen-year-old sophomore at the school and part of Students Demand Action in Colorado, said it sadly showed “the reality of being young in America”. She had just gone through a shooting incident and was supposed to talk about gun safety bills shortly after.

Last school year, Lyle got in trouble and was kicked out of his high school near Aurora. He then moved to East High School, as this is what the spokesperson from Cherry Creek School District (Lauren Snell) said.

Marrero said that it’s a regular thing for public schools in Colorado to make plans to keep students safe. He didn’t explain why Lyle was searched every day.

However, Franci Crepeau-Hobson, a professor from University of Colorado Denver who studies how to stop violence in schools, said that usually people are not checked every day like this.

Crepeau-Hobson said that the adults were worried, probably because of any problems the kid had with weapons in the past. Christine Harms from Colorado School Safety Resource Center added that safety plans usually happen after some student shows threatening or suicidal behaviour.

With the shooting happening, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre stated President Joe Biden’s wish for stricter gun control laws that include preventing people from owning assault-style weapons and large magazines. They also asked Congress to act on this issue. Wednesday marked the 2nd year of 10 people getting killed at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

Two reporters, Sarah Brumfield from Silver Spring, Maryland and Matthew Brown from Billings Montana are working for the Associated Press. This organization is part of a program called Report for America which puts journalists in local newsrooms to tell people about topics that have not been covered yet.

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