By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – A male student opened fire at a Colorado high school on Friday, wounding at least two classmates before apparently taking his own life, law enforcement officials said.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told a televised news conference that one person was in serious condition with gunshot wounds at a local hospital. A second victim suffered minor injuries and may not have been hit by bullets.
Robinson said the suspected gunman, a student at the high school, reportedly had identified a “specific teacher that he was interested in confronting,” and that the teacher immediately fled. The suspected gunman was later found dead inside the school.
“That individual is deceased and he apparently killed himself,” Robinson said, adding that authorities knew the identity of the boy but would not immediately release it.
The incident comes a day before the first anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before shooting himself.
Robinson said officers in Colorado were “slowly and methodically” clearing the school and transporting students to another location, but believed that the danger had passed.
Television images from the high school show students running out with their hands raised and gathering on a track field. Some students were shown being patted down in the aftermath.
A woman who answered the phone at a Yogurtland across the street said her store was being evacuated and dozens of police officers were at the school with guns drawn.
Phone calls to the Arapahoe High School were not answered. A spokesman for Littleton Public Schools, the district that administers the school, said the school had been placed on lockdown.
Centennial is a suburban community south of Denver, not far from the unincorporated community in nearby Jefferson County that is home to Columbine High School, where two students gunned down 13 students and staff before killing themselves in 1999.
Parents of #ArapahoeHigh students are asked to go to Shepherd of the Hills Church at 7691 S University Blvd.
— Arapahoe Sheriff (@ArapahoeSO) December 13, 2013