At least seven people were injured and two suspects were in custody after a shooting was reported at a Colorado STEM school on Tuesday, officials said.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said it responded to the STEM School Highlands Ranch just before 2 p.m. and is also looking into the possibility there is a third suspect involved and as many as eight people injured. At least four were taken to an area in hospital in serious condition.
The shooting occurred in the middle school and officers heard shots as they were entering the school, Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth said.
Nicholson-Kluth told reporters that the situation was still active.
Multiple agencies, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, responded to the scene to assist.
Students at the public charter school for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics were being evacuated.
STEM School Highlands Ranch has 1,850 students — 550 elementary age students, 700 in middle school and 600 high school students, according to the district.
Rocco DeChalk, who lives blocks from the school, heard a stampede of students running past his house.
“I saw all of them running, so I thought it was a gym class at first,” he told NBC News. “But then I saw there were so many of them.”
After going outside, he saw a teenage boy shot in the back and sitting by a mailbox two doors down. The boy was with a teacher and a friend, who had been applying pressure to a bullet wound.
They called 911 and the dispatcher told them to take cover, so they helped the young victim into DeChalk’s kitchen. The man eventually flagged a passing policeman who then caught the attention of an ambulance, which rushed the youngster away.
All the time, the boy remained conscious.
“He made a comment, `Oh, I’m starting to feel it now,’ “ DeChalk said referring to the pain. “I told him that was probably the adrenaline kicking in and he was going into shock.”
One parent told KUSA that her son was apparently in a room next to where the shooting occurred and was safe with a teacher. That teacher called her to let her know her son was OK.
She said that the school has been sending automated voice messages and was told there was a lockdown.
The campus is just eight miles southeast of Columbine High School in Littleton, site of the April 20, 1999, mass shooting in which two gunmen murdered 12 fellow students and a teacher before killing themselves.