Student Wounds Two in Colorado High School Shooting, Then Turns Gun on Self

Armed student sought out a specific teacher, police say

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Barry Gutierrez for TIME

Students are led away from Arapahoe High School.

Updated: 8:30 p.m. E.T.

Two students were injured Friday when a student opened fire in a Colorado high school and then shot himself, police said.

“The shooter is dead as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said in a press conference. The sheriff identified the shooter as a current student at the school but did not release his name.

Among the victims, one student — a 15-year-old girl — was transported to a local hospital in serious condition with a gunshot wound and has had surgery. The other student was taken to a hospital with minor wounds, not necessarily gunshot wounds, the sheriff said.

Police received a call about the incident at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. near Denver at 12:33 p.m. local time, the Sheriff said, and located the shooter inside the school within 14 minutes. Police evacuated the school. The shooter’s body was found in a classroom. He was a “lone actor,” according to authorities.

The shooter arrived at the school’s parking lot with a shotgun and asked for a specific teacher at Arapahoe High School that he was interested in confronting by name, Sheriff Robinson said. The teacher was made aware of the threat and exited the school. The sheriff would not identify the teacher.

Witnesses reported seeing police in riot gear near the scene. Authorities have yet to search the student’s locker at the school. They have also found what they are calling two “Molotov cocktails” at the scene.

The sheriff said in a Friday afternoon press conference that the authorities have no evidence to show that this shooting is in any way related to the anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting that took place in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012. A recent analysis by the Daily Beast found that there has been on average about one school shooting every two weeks since 20 first-graders were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. School shootings have resulted in 24 injuries and 17 deaths over the past year, not including the most recent tragedy in Centennial.

At least 540 separate bills related to school security were proposed in 50 states this year. Only 106 became laws. On a national level, President Obama called for a gun control plan after Newtown. Congress proposed legislation that would have banned assault and high-capacity magazines and expanded background checks. The bill died in the senate. In the most recent Gallup poll from Oct., 49 percent of Americans said they supported stricter gun control laws.

Arapahoe is near the area where the deadly 1999 Columbine school shooting took place and just 16 miles from the Aurora movie theater where a gunman killed 12 people on July 20, 2012.

This story has been updated with information provided by Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson in a series of news conferences on Friday afternoon and evening.

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