(CNN) Law enforcement officials searching for the 17-year-old student who they say shot two faculty members at a Denver high school said late Wednesday that they found his van about 50 miles from the school. .
Just hours after the shooting at East High School, the Denver Police Department tweeted a photo of the suspect and identified him as Austin Lyle. The student was connected to a red 2005 Volvo XC90 with Colorado plates. Lyle is wanted for attempted murder, police said.
The vehicle was found in Park County, southwest of Denver. “Efforts to locate suspect are ongoing,” department officials tweeted.
The shooting at East High School was reported around 9:50 a.m., and police and medical personnel arrived on the scene “very quickly” to find two adult men with gunshot wounds, the Denver Police Chief said. Ron Thomas.
One faculty member is in stable condition and the other in critical condition, he said.
The student suspected in the shooting was under a school security plan in which he was frisked every day, the police chief said. During the search Wednesday, he recovered a handgun and several shots were fired in an office area at the front of the school, away from other students and staff, he said.
The student then fled the school. The weapon has not been recovered, Thomas said.
“We are looking for the suspect,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “We will find that suspect and hold him accountable for his actions this morning in putting everyone in danger and certainly injuring the two staff members who were doing their jobs and trying to keep everyone safe at the time.”
The mayor asked residents to keep an eye out for the student, who was described wearing a hoodie as an astronaut. The student should be considered “armed and dangerous and willing to use the weapon, as we learned this morning,” the mayor said.
In addition, another student was taken to a hospital for an allergic reaction, the mayor said. Paramedics were already in the building for that incident when the shooting occurred and were able to immediately treat the injured, Hancock said.
The incident is the 18th shooting this year at an elementary or secondary school in the US in which at least one person was injured or killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tries to record every shooting incident. Gun violence in the United States in real time. Just this week, a student was shot in a Dallas high school parking lot, and in Arlington, Texas, one student was killed and another wounded in a shooting outside a high school.
Wednesday also marks two years since the mass shooting at King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people.
The school will be out of session for the rest of the week after the shooting, Superintendent Alex Marrero said during a news conference. When the students return and for the remainder of the school year, two armed officers will be present on campus, he said.
High school student was shot dead last month
This is not the first incident of gun violence to hit East High School this year.
Last month, 16-year-old student Luis Garcia was shot inside a parked car near the school and died weeks later, according to CNN affiliate KMGH. Later, a group of East High students attended a city council meeting and demanded action on gun violence and school safety, KMGH reported.
“We are afraid,” junior Mateo Tullar said at the meeting. “We don’t want to be in school. We don’t feel safe there. It’s not right. These things need to change.”
Earlier this month, the Denver East High School chapter of Students Demand Action organized a school walkout and called for immediate action on gun safety. The strike included a march through the city to the state capitol and was attended by more than 1,000 students and educators, according to Students Demand Action.
Students at the event wore red and carried signs reading “Escuela
is it was my safe place”, “Our blood, your hands” and “Am I next?”, according to KMGH.
On Wednesday, Rob Gould, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said, “It is unacceptable that our students and educators are forced to work in environments where we cannot fundamentally ensure their safety from gun violence.”
Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, said the problem of gun violence is a problem that extends beyond East High School and Denver.
“This is a Colorado problem and a national problem. But certain lawmakers refuse to listen to our students, our educators, and our communities, and instead listen to powerful and well-funded gun lobbying groups,” Baca-Oehlert said. “Together, they insist on fighting common sense gun legislation, like expanding extreme risk protection orders and raising the age to purchase a firearm.”
East High School has about 2,500 students in grades 9 through 12 and is the largest and highest-performing comprehensive high school of all Denver Public Schools, according to the school system.
The high school is located in the City Park neighborhood of the Colorado capital and is considered a Denver Historic Landmark for its architecture in the Jacobethan Revival style. The clock tower atop the school is similar in style to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the school’s website notes.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a statement saying he was praying for the recovery of the two victims.
“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 the classroom, and teachers must be able to work safely and without harm,” he said.
CNN’s Andy Rose, Steve Almasy, Christina Zdanowicz, Roxanne Garcia and Justin Lear contributed to this report.