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Teen suspect in Denver school shooting found dead in nearby county, authorities say

Austin Lyle, 17, was found dead near a vehicle that had been sought following a shooting at East High School on Wednesday morning. Police had earlier identified Lyle as a suspect in the shooting, which left two school administrators wounded.
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The 17-year-old suspect in a shooting at a Denver high school that left two school administrators wounded on Wednesday was found dead in a nearby county following the incident, authorities said.

Officials in Park County, southwest of Denver, said Wednesday night that a body had been found near a vehicle that had been sought following the shooting at East High School.

The county's coroner's office announced early Thursday morning that the body had been identified as Austin Lyle, 17, who Denver police had hours earlier named as the suspect in the shooting.

Lyle's next of kin were notified and the coroner's office said a death investigation was still underway. It said no further details would be provided until an autopsy was completed.

A shelter-in-place ordered close to where the SUV was located, near Bailey, around 35 miles from the high school, was lifted after the body was found.

Lyle's remains were found in a wooded area, about 2/10th of a mile from a red Volvo that had been sought, Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said by phone.

The shooting unfolded at East High School at around 9:50 a.m., Denver police said.

Lyle had been under a “safety plan” and had agreed to be patted down every morning, officials said.

“During that search, obviously a weapon was retrieved,” Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said. “A handgun was retrieved, and several shots were fired."

The weapon was not recovered at the school, police said.

One of the wounded administrators remained at a hospital in serious condition Wednesday night, while the other had been discharged in good condition, a spokesperson for Denver Health said.

Police said the student had never been found with a weapon prior to Wednesday morning's incident. They did not say how long the student had been under the safety plan, which meant he was searched every morning in the school's office, away from students and other staff.

East High School in Denver.
East High School in Denver.Google Maps

Denver officials did not say why the student was under the safety plan, citing federal student privacy laws.

Safety plans are implemented throughout the district's schools to address behavioral issues in coordination with a student's guardians. Plans are tailored to individualized needs and put in place for minor issues to more severe concerns.

East High School recently lost a student, Luis Garcia, after he was shot and killed Feb. 13 while sitting in a car near the campus, NBC affiliate KUSA reported. The death of Garcia, a soccer player at the school, sparked a student-led campaign for gun safety reform.

Students led a walkout March 3 and went to the state Capitol to demand legislative action, according to KUSA.

Gracie Taub, the co-lead for East High School's chapter of Students Demand Action, said in a statement tweeted from the organization's account that this was the "reality" of American youth.

"This is the reality of being young in America: sitting through a shooting and waiting for information just hours before you’re scheduled to testify in support of gun safety bills," Taub said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the shooting tragic and wished a swift recovery for the injured.

"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 classrooms, and teachers should be able to work safely and without harm," Polis said.

The governor also acknowledged that the school shooting occurred exactly two years after 10 people were killed in Boulder when a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store.