Two Administrators Injured in Denver School Shooting

28 Mar, 2023 Liz Carey


Denver, CO ( – Two administrators were injured Wednesday after a handgun went off during a student search at a Denver high school. 

Officials with East High School in Denver said Eric Sinclair, a school dean, and Jerald Mason, another administrator, were shot while patting down 17-year-old Austin Lyle. Lyle was undergoing a morning search for weapons that he had agreed to as part of a “safety plan” following previous behavioral issues, police said.  

Sinclair was in serious condition as of Saturday after undergoing surgery. Mason was treated and released from a local hospital.  

Officials said that during the search, a handgun was found and several shots were fired in a front office, away from other students and staff. Lyle then fled the school. He was later found in a nearby county. Officials said Lyle’s car was found on a wooded road in Park County on Wednesday evening. Park County Sheriff’s officers said they found a body near the vehicle, and later identified it as Lyle’s.  

During a press conference, police declined to comment on how long Lyle had been under the safety plan or what had led to the plan, due to student privacy laws. A spokesperson with the school did say that Lyle had been expelled from Overland High School in a neighboring district for “violating board policy.” 

Denver public schools removed on-campus police officers two years prior. In 2020, the school system decided to remove its armed school resource officers who monitored the school campuses. Officials said it was out of concern for young students of color and how they are treated by school resource officers, according to Denverite.  

It was the third shooting threat surrounding the school since the beginning of the school year. In September, two people were shot a block away at a recreation center. A week after that, East High School went into lockdown due to a report of an active shooter. That report proved to be unfounded.  

However, in February, a 16-year-old student, Luis Garcia was shot while he was sitting in his car outside of the school. Garcia died two week later.  

After Garcia’s death, students at the school staged a walkout demanding the legislature act on gun violence.  

Michael Hancock Denver’s Mayor, said the lack of safety was unacceptable.  

"This should never — as a parent, I can tell you — never be a concern of a parent, whether or not their kids are safe in their building," he said Wednesday, according to Colorado Public Radio.  

According to the Gun Violence Archive, it was the 18th school shooting this year where at least one person was injured or killed. And according to EducationWeek, there have been 156 school shootings since 2018. In those, 23 school employees have been killed. Last year, there were 51 school shootings that injured 8 employees, the highest number over the six years tracked. It was unclear how many of the 287 people injured in those shootings were employees.   

Since the Denver shooting, the Board of Education has voted to temporarily suspend its ban on armed guards and resource officers.  

“Based on the emergency situation presented by the events of March 22, 2023, the Board of Education will hereby suspend (the ban on armed officers) through June 30, 2023,” the motion approved by the board Thursday said. 

School district Superintendent Alex Marrero said on Wednesday that he would place two armed police officers at East High School through the rest of the school year. 

“Today was my fourth visit to Denver Health’s Intensive Care Unit due to victims of gun violence,” Marrero said in a letter to the Board of Education. “These events should not have happened on my watch or this Board’s Watch.”

Mayor Hancock said the school resource officers should be returned to the schools.  

“Removing them was a mistake,” he said in a statement on Twitter, “and we must move swiftly to correct it.” 

The board gave the superintendent orders to develop a new safety plan, but emphasized that the district does not have the month to fund additional armed security guards or resource officers indefinitely. 

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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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