Denver – The body found in a Colorado woods near an abandoned car was that of a 17-year-old student accused of wounding two employees in a shooting at his Denver high school, the coroner’s office confirmed Thursday.
The body was found near the car in a remote mountain area about 50 miles southwest of Denver, near the small Park County town of Bailey, according to county police chief Tom McGraw. Locals had been ordered to take cover while agents from various agencies, including the FBI, searched the woods.
Denver police had previously identified the suspect in the shooting as Austin Lyle. The Park County Coroner’s Office confirmed on Facebook that the deceased was Lyle. The cause of death was not made public because an autopsy had not been completed.RELATED
The shooting occurred at Denver’s East High School as two administrators were searching Lyle for weapons, a daily requirement due to the boy’s behavior problems, authorities say. Lyle fled after the shots.
The school has seen frequent incidents of violence and lockdowns, such as the recent murder in front of the center of a student, which sparked a student march on the Colorado Capitol this month. Parents gathered on the 2,500-student campus on Wednesday expressed frustration that authorities had not done enough to protect their children.
“I’m fed up,” said Jesse Haase, who planned to talk to his daughter about taking her out of face-to-face classes for the rest of the year.
Amid criticism of low security, Denver school officials said after the event that they would once again put armed officers in the city’s public schools.
There were no officers on campus at the time of the shooting Wednesday, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said.
The shooting occurred just before 10 a.m. in an area away from the classrooms as the student was being frisked as part of a “security plan,” officials said.
The weapon used was not initially recovered, Thomas said.
One of the injured administrators was released Wednesday afternoon and the second remained in serious condition, said Heather Burke, a spokeswoman for Denver Health.
Hundreds of students skipped class March 3 and marched for stricter gun laws following the death of 16-year-old Luis Garcia, who was shot while sitting in a car near East High School.
In June 2020, amid a wave of anti-racism protests following the murder of George Floyd, Denver Public Schools was one of several districts in the United States that decided to remove police from school buildings. That move was prompted by criticism that officers in schools were disproportionately arresting black students, dragging them into the criminal justice system.
School shootings have become increasingly common in the United States, with more than 1,300 incidents recorded between 2000 and June 2022, according to government investigators. In those shootings, 377 people died and 1,025 were injured, according to a database maintained by the investigators.