DENVER — The student who shot and wounded two Denver high school administrators and later took his own life was on probation at the time for a previous firearms offence, Reuters confirmed through a source with knowledge of the case on Thursday.
Wednesday’s shooting at East High School, the second in two months at the campus, occurred when two deans of the school were frisking the student for weapons as part of a specialised safety protocol devised for the youth because of his past behavioural problems, authorities said.
The 17-year-old student, Austin Lyle, then fled the school with his handgun as police launched a daylong manhunt that ended when the teenager was found dead near his vehicle in a remote mountain area roughly 45 miles (72 km) west of Denver.
The Park County Coroner’s Office said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
As new details emerged about the youth’s troubled past, education officials confirmed earlier media reports that Lyle had been expelled from Overland High School in Aurora before he was enrolled this year in Denver’s East High School.
The reason for his removal from Overland was not explained. But a source familiar with the investigator told Reuters that Lyle was charged in late 2021 with possessing a dangerous weapon and possessing a large-capacity ammunition magazine after an arrest in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
In November of 2022, according to the source, Lyle was sentenced to 12 months of probation for the large-magazine possession charge, while the dangerous weapon charge was dismissed.
As a condition for enrolling Lyle in East High School, a special “safety plan” was implemented requiring him to submit to a search of his person for weapons each day upon entering the building, a pat-down to be conducted by school administrators.
The Denver school board had voted in 2020 to eliminate its program of assigning armed city police officers to its campuses, relying instead on the school district’s own security team.
Amid a public furore over Wednesday’s shooting, the school board voted in emergency session on Thursday to allow armed police officers back on the grounds of East High School.
Meanwhile, one of the two deans wounded in the latest shooting was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, while the other remained hospitalised in serious condition, a hospital spokesperson said. — Reuters