A teenager has wounded two fellow students with a shotgun before shooting himself dead in the US state of Colorado. The attack unfolded the eve of the first anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said one student victim was in serious condition with gunshot wounds, while a second suffered only minor injuries.
The shooter had “identified a specific teacher at Arapahoe High School that he was interested in confronting, and that teacher was informed of the situation and exited the school quickly,” Robinson said.
Police said the 18-year-old carrying the gun, who was reported to have exploded a Molotov cocktail during the attack, had “apparently killed himself.”
Dramatic television footage from the high school showed students running out with their hands raised (pictured) and gathering on a track field. Some students were shown being patted by police down after the incident.
Two television channels, ABC News and CNN, said the suspected shooter had recently been dismissed from the school’s debating team. Classmates said he had also been a member of the school’s track team.
Both the timing of the shooting and its location were particularly poignant.
The attack came a day before the first anniversary of last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 children and six teachers. Police said there was no link between the latest incident and the anniversary.
That Newtown killing reignited public debate in the US about gun laws that reformers argue are far too relaxed, with President Barack Obama stressing that the country needed to do more to protect children from illegal firearms.
The president’s push for stricter gun control laws stalled in the Senate after intense opposition by the gun lobby.
President Obama was to lead a national moment of silence Saturday at the White House in Washington.
The school in Friday’s attack in Centennial lies about 8 miles (13 kilometers) east of Columbine High School, where two students gunned down 13 classmates and staff before killing themselves in 1999.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper described Friday’s attack as an “all too familiar sequence where you have gunshots and parents racing to the school, and unspeakable horror in a place of learning.”
rc/ipj (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)