Nightly News   |  December 13, 2013

Student shooting suspect was targeting teacher, officials say

On Friday a student entered Arapahoe High School and shot two students, authorities said, before then killing himself with a shotgun. An army of police officers responded, and terrified parents rushed to the scene, which is a very short drive to Columbine High School where two teenagers killed 13 people in 1999. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. it's another one of those scenes that makes you wonder what's become of us. a shooting at a school in colorado two weeks before christmas. one day away from the newtown anniversary. a teacher was apparently targeted today. two students shot. the gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound . it happened at arapahoe high school in centennial colorado . during the campus lockdown, students were lined up on the running track and patted down by police at their own school . the school is 16 miles, give or take, from aurora, colorado , the scene of the movie theater shooting and ten miles east of columbine. we begin tonight with nbc's tom costello who grew up there and graduated from arapahoe high school . good evening.

>> reporter: that's my high school . 2,200 kids go to school there. a short drive to columbine high school . after lunch the student came in with a shotgun looking for a teacher. the teacher escaped but two students were shot. just after 1:00 denver time in a scene gut wrenchingly familiar hundreds of students leaving with their hands in the air as heavily armed deputies on the school 's roof and inside the building going room by room searching for suspects.

>> confirming that we are with not evacuating more students snrk minutes earlier, student jack burning was in class.

>> and then we heard gunshots, one, two, three. everyone looked at each other and we kind of knew it was real. i don't know. there were more gunshots happening. then they stopped and i heard a woman screaming. then i heard a man screaming, he went that way, he went that way.

>> reporter: a sheriff announced there was one suspect, a student dead of a self-is inflicted gunshot wound in an interior classroom.

>> molotov cocktail found on the subject.

>> reporter: we believe the deceased shooter is the only individual who was armed in the school today and came to cause harm to the students and/or faculty of the facility.

>> reporter: two students were shot. a female rushed to surgery. another student suffering a minor wound. the suspect entered the school looking for a specific teacher. the janitor said he came with a shotgun.

>> i saw him going into the building. went into the library, called murphy's name and wanted to kill him.

>> reporter: the teacher managed to escape.

>> when the teacher heard this individual was asking for him, the teacher exited the school immediately. the most important tactical decision that could have been made.

>> reporter: an army of officers responded having changed their standing orders after columbine. they rushed in rather than waiting for backup. parents also rushed to the scene, terrified and remembering nearby columbine.

>> something you never think is going to happen to you. it hasn't hit me that it happened at my school and my school is now a crime scene .

>> reporter: students were texting their parents from inside while teach thors put the school on a well rehearsed lock down. the in- school deputy was first to respond. investigators looking into what sent the student off. it is likely to be an unsettling weekend for many in the area.

>> as we saw with the last student it's personal for you as well. how sad that the three communities and that tight triangle of geography are now all three of them known in the public mind for shootings.

>> reporter: i could see the house i grew up in when the chopper shot widened out today. i got choked up watching this happen where i grew up. i have a lot of friends who are cops and firefighters there. they changed their response protocols following columbine to a massive multi agency response in the event of an active shooter . they think it paid off today. a lot of coloradans are asking, why us, why her. i was there for a mass murder at a chuck e. cheese . why so many cases in colorado or is it a miracle ro kompl.

>> tom, thanks. along the weekend as the weekend approaches, rather, several eastern states are about to get hit by a snowstorm which is tonight spooling