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Shelter-in-place lifted after body found near East High shooting suspect's car

Accused shooter Austin Lyle found dead in wooded area in Park County, coroner confirms
Accused shooter Austin Lyle found dead in wooded area in Park County, coroner confirms 03:45

UPDATE: Austin Lyle found dead in wooded area in Park County, coroner confirms

A body has been found in the woods near the location of the East High shooting suspect's car Wednesday night.

Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said a shelter-in-place for the area has been lifted and that people "should feel relieved that we came up here and solved the problem and that we don't have to wait until tomorrow morning or the next few days."

Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw updates reporters on the search for the East High School shooting suspect around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. CBS

The sheriff would not identify or describe the body, other than to say it belonged to a male and that it was discovered around 8:15 p.m. about "two-tenths of a mile" from the location where his car was found earlier.

McGraw also wouldn't discuss the circumstances, such as the suspected cause or manner of death. He said more details would not be made public until they complete their investigation and notify next-of-kin.

RELATED: East High School shooting suspect vehicle located in Park County

He said more info likely would not be available until Thursday morning.

A student shot two faculty members at East High School on Wednesday morning. Police officers rushed to the school at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday on reports of the threat, which triggered a lockdown.

 Austin Lyle Denver Police

That student has been identified as Austin Lyle, 17. He is described as a Black male, 5-foot-5, 150 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a green hoodie. 

A vehicle similar to the 2005 red Volvo XC90 with Colorado License BSC-W10 associated with East High School shooting suspect Austin Lyle.  Denver Police

He is believed to be associated with a 2005 red Volvo XC90 with Colorado license plate BSCW10. Denver police said that vehicle was located in Park County.


Police said they were identifying Lyle because of the safety threat he poses. The search had expanded beyond the Denver metro area to other parts of Colorado. He was transferred to East High in January after violating board policy where he was removed from Cherry Creek's Overland High School and was required to be on a safety plan. That search extended into Jefferson County, Park County and elsewhere.

Two school administrators were shot, which kicked off the school lockdown and subsequent search for Lyle.

Denver Public Schools confirmed that the two victims are Eric Sinclair and Jerald Mason, both adult males, described as deans at the school. One was listed in serious condition, one was initially listed in critical and then upgraded to serious after surgery on Wednesday afternoon. A few hours later, Mason was upgraded to good condition and released from the hospital. Sinclair was still in the hospital in serious condition as of about 9:20 p.m.

Lyle is known to school staff and police and had agreed to a safety plan to be patted down daily before entering school. 


"As part of a safety plan they were undergoing a search, as part of that search a weapon was retrieved, a handgun was retrieved, and several shots were fired, striking those two individuals, that individual then fled the school and we do know who that individual is and a search is underway to try to locate that particular individual," said Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas. 

Officers searched an apartment building near Congress Park early Wednesday afternoon where they did not find Lyle. 

East High School will not have classes for the rest of the week. DPS begins spring break on Friday afternoon. There will be two armed officers posted at the school for the rest of the school year. 


Earlier on Wednesday during a news conference outside East High School, DPS Superintendent Alex Marerro said he was considering re-establishing some sort of police presence in schools after the Denver school board voted to remove school resource officers in June 2020

On Wednesday afternoon, he sent a letter to the Denver School Board informing them of his decision to place the armed officers in comprehensive high schools. He also said that he is aware that this violates a clause within Denver Public Schools and said that he "can no longer stand on the sidelines" and is "willing to accept the consequences of my actions."

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock released a statement that read in part, "It's also time to return School Resource Officers in our schools. Removing them was a mistake and we must move swiftly to correct it. We're ready to work with DPS, and we all have to step up as a community and be part of the solution."

He also said that Denver Fire Department crews were already at the school for an unrelated medical call when the shooting happened. That's why the medical response to the call was so quick. 

There was a large police presence at the school, which is located at 1600 City Park Esplanade in downtown Denver near City Park. The school has more than 2,500 students enrolled for the 2022-2023 school year.

The school started a controlled release for students after the Denver Police Department gave the green light, just before noon. Parents picked up their children at 17th and Esplanade. 

The reunification point at 17th and Esplanade near East High School.  CBS

Students who drove to school were escorted to their car and free to go. Students who ride the bus were held until their bus arrived. DPS tweeted "We are working with RTD to increase the number of buses on the 15 line to help students get home."

East High School students reacted to the shooting, some emotional and others seemingly shocked at another shooting. 

"I'm not really sad or hurt by it because it's so normal at this point. Like I'm just… he was asking me 'How do I feel walking through the doors?' and like I don't feel a certain type of way, I'm just always more aware and ready to leave if you have to," said East High School student Braedon Larson.     


The CBS News Colorado helicopter flew over the school which showed dozens of police vehicles, including a Denver Police Incident Command van, parked outside the school and surrounding every entrance to the campus. 


Before students were reunited with their parents and caregivers, some parents yelled across the crowd toward Mayor Hancock and the chief of police before a news conference to update the situation. 


They were asking questions like, "What are you doing to keep our kids safe when they go to school?"


An ambulance crew was seen wheeling a stretcher into the school at the front doors at 10:43 a.m. That was apparently for a student who needed medical attention not related to the shooting.

The school initially confirmed there was a threat to the building and the public was urged to stay away from the area. The surrounding roads impacted include 17th Avenue, Josephine Street, Colfax Avenue, 16th Avenue and Detroit Street. 

Denver Public Schools released this statement, "We are working with the Denver Police Department to ensure the safety and security of our students. Additional communications will be shared with students and families as we know more. We cannot provide further comments at this time."


Gov. Jared Polis released this statement: "We are closely monitoring this tragic situation. We know that the two victims have been hospitalized and we pray for their health and swift recovery. 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. We also reflect that today is the anniversary of the Boulder King Soopers shooting. We appreciate the quick action taken by East High school faculty and staff to secure the school and make sure students were safe and this is an ongoing situation, and State Troopers and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations are supporting local law enforcement in responding to this tragedy." 

Hancock released this statement: "Another act of senseless gun violence rocked the East High School community this morning and my heart is with each and every student, staff member and parent. Our schools should be free from violence. Period. Parents are angry and frustrated, and they have a right to be. Easy access to guns must be addressed in our country – Denver cannot do this alone. There are common sense proposals at the Legislature and in Congress right now – they must be passed. It's also time to return School Resource Officers in our schools. Removing them was a mistake and we must move swiftly to correct it. We're ready to work with DPS, and we all have to step up as a community and be part of the solution."

Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette released this statement, "We can't continue to live like this. We have to do more to protect our schools and community from gun violence. As a society, we have to find a way to come together to prevent these tragedies from occurring and curb the scourge of gun violence that's devastating our communities. And we have to do it now. Enough is enough."

Colorado Congressman Jason Crow released this statement, "Shocked to hear that 2 faculty members were shot outside Denver's East High School. Our thoughts are with the victims' families and the entire East High community — my team & I will be monitoring the situation as we learn more."  

There will be a community prayer at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Church in the City located at 1580 N. Gaylord. On Thursday, DPS will have its mental health team at Manual High School for students and families. There will also be space for people to engage and process at Church in the City from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. 

The Denver Board of Education has canceled its meeting scheduled for Thursday. Three of the seats on the school board are up for reelection in November, including one board member who pushed for the dissolution of SROs in DPS. 

Instead, there will be a special meeting and executive session on school, student and adult safety from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday's shooting marks 2 years to the day of the grocery store shooting at the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder that left 10 dead, including a police officer. 

Safety in Colorado schools is a topic of great concern especially at East High School since 16-year-old Luis Garcia was shot near Denver East High School and died weeks after the shooting

According to Denver Public Schools, 10 guns have been confiscated from students in Denver schools between the start of the school year and February.

In September 2022, a threat forced all students and staff to evacuate. That threat was eventually determined to be unfounded. 


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