A student was discovered with a weapon at Denver’s East High School on Wednesday, one day after the school was closed because a 16-year-old had been shot near the campus, according to a letter sent to families by the school’s principal.
When the East administration received reports of a student with a weapon on school property Wednesday, the school’s increased security allowed officials to identify and remove the student — along with the unspecified weapon — and notify the student’s caregivers “without any threat to the rest of the students or faculty,” Principal Terita Walker wrote.
“Students and faculty were not directly threatened or at risk during the removal of this student and the weapon,” Walker wrote in the letter sent to families Wednesday night.
Due to student privacy, Walker said no additional information about the student or situation could be shared.
A Denver Public Schools representative on Thursday said they could not confirm whether the weapon was a gun.
“We understand that recent incidents of city violence near our campus can make students and community members wary of their surroundings,” Walker wrote. “We have and will continue to listen to community feedback. We are initiating processes which can address these issues as quickly and safely as possible.”
The increased security on campus was a result of a Monday shooting that left 16-year-old Luis Garcia hospitalized in critical condition, according to a GoFundMe campaign started by the teen’s teammates on the East soccer team to raise money for his family.
After the shooting, school administrators decided to close school on Tuesday and reopen Wednesday.
According to the GoFundMe page, Garcia was shot while sitting in his car outside the school.
The Denver Police Department took two male suspects into custody Monday, though neither has been arrested on charges of shooting Garcia. A 17-year-old is being held on suspicion of illegal possession of a handgun and a 16-year-old is being held on suspicion of auto theft and felony eluding.
Both teenagers are Denver Public Schools students, but do not attend East. Their names are not being released by police.
“As a team, we want to support Luis and his family financially during this time of tragedy,” the GoFundMe campaign states. “We want to give them a chance to focus only on the well-being of their beloved son and not the price of medical bills.”
Anyone who hears a threat against another student or the school is asked to report it immediately to a trusted adult, or by calling Safe2Tell at 877-542-7233, using the website safe2tell.org or by calling the Denver police non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.
If students feel distressed about the events on campus, Walker encouraged them to reach out to mental health resources available at school or the school nurse.
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