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Colorado, Denver leaders express concern in wake of East High School shooting

East High School shooting March 22 2023
Posted at 1:46 PM, Mar 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 12:28:25-04

Editor's note: Authorities said Wednesday around 8:30 p.m. that a body was found in Park County near the vehicle the shooting suspect was associated with. The identity of the person has not been confirmed. Click here for more.

Community leaders in Colorado expressed concerns and sadness in the wake of a shooting at East High School Wednesday morning that left two deans injured.

Two faculty members at East High School shot, juvenile suspect at-large

Below are their statements — some are social media posts and others are formal statements emailed to local media — about the shooting at the Denver high school. Classes are canceled Thursday and Friday.

We are continuing to add to this list. Check back for updates.

Gov. Jared Polis
“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.” 

Attorney General Phil Weiser
"Students and faculty should be able to learn and teach without the fear of gun violence in their schools. We hold in our hearts the shooting victims and all of the East High School community and hope the shooter is apprehended soon and held accountable."

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock
“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.”

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann
“I know the city of Denver is mourning after yesterday's shooting at East High School and the subsequent suicide of the troubled young man who committed the shooting. This situation hit me particularly hard as my kids graduated from East and I know East to be a great school filled with dedicated and excellent teachers, staff and students. Parents, students and teachers are understandably outraged and angry that this happened at the school.

I applaud the decision of the Denver Public Schools Superintendent Marrero to put Denver police officers back in Denver comprehensive high schools. That was a courageous and necessary step. The Denver School Board should follow suit. I call on our legislators to hear the words of our DPS students who testified before them and pass all of the gun legislation that has been introduced this session. The easy accessibility of guns to our young people is terrifying. The glorification of guns in our culture is unacceptable.

We in the Denver District Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute juveniles involved in violent activities and provide alternatives such as mental health and substance misuse treatment, job training, and counseling through our diversion programs to other young people who get involved in criminal behavior. Our goal is to keep the community safe and help young people make better choices with their lives.

We wish Deans Sinclair and Mason a quick and full recovery.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper
"Heartbroken to hear two faculty at East High School have been shot. Closely following the situation and thankful for our first responders. Gun violence has become too regular. We owe more to our children. Nothing changes if nothing changes."

Sen. Michael Bennet
"I'm saddened to hear about two staff members who were shot at East High School. I'm thinking of the kids, parents, teachers, and staff at East, and the entire Denver community at this time. No one should have to live with the daily fear of gun violence like this."

Sen. Rhonda Fields
"Just three weeks ago, East High School students marched to the State Capitol demanding action on gun violence. Today, another school shooting. Our students, teachers, and staff at East are being traumatized by gun violence and fear. SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE. This must end."

Sen. Chris Hansen
"My heart is breaking again for East High School today. Our children and families are hurting and this is another terrible reminder of the work we still have to do."

Sen. Janice Marchman
"Today, another senseless act of gun violence happened just down the street at East High School in Denver. It was less than three weeks ago that students from East marched to the Capitol, to advocate for protection against gun violence. I’m sending all of my prayers and love to the faculty members who were wounded today. But friends, we need to step it up. We must pass legislation to protect our students and communities from preventable acts of gun violence like the one that occurred today."

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
“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.”

Rep. Jason Crow
"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.

Rep. Lindsey Daugherty
"19 days ago, East High School students marched to the Capitol and *begged* us to keep them safe from gun violence. Today, two people were shot on their campus. We need to work faster."

Rep. Ruby Dickson
"The epidemic of gun violence continues to harm our children and our communities. The students of East High School have been pushing for years to keep them safe, and we have failed them once more. It's also the two-year anniversary of the tragic King Soopers shooting, and today is only the latest in a stream of horrifying tragedies."

Rep. Elisabeth Epps
"I’m at East H.S. now with members of the Denver delegation to support our students, families, staff in any way. I represent many East Angels; my son graduated from East. We’ve been told there was a shooting +/- discharged firearm. I don’t have any more confirmed information."

Rep. Javier Mabrey
"On March 3rd, Denver East High School students mobilized and organized a walkout after their 16 year old classmate, Luis Garcia, was a victim of gun violence. They walked out to show that they have had enough. They are tired of having to participate in school shooting drills, mourning their classmates, and not feeling safe in school. These students demand action, they came to the capitol to demand for more and better gun violence prevention policies because prayers and remembrances are not enough. Today, March 22nd, is the 2 year anniversary of the King Soopers shooting in Boulder. There was also another act of gun violence at Denver East High. My deepest condolences and solidarity with those who have been impacted by this shooting. I call on citizens and legislators alike to heed the call of the brave students who came to the Capitol to call for action to reduce gun violence in our communities in our schools is a uniquely American problem. Enough is enough. I'll keep pushing for better gun safety laws at the capitol."

Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet
"Not even one month later, 2 staff members were shot at East High School. Our kids are fearing for their safety every day and it is the most heartbreaking thing to witness."

Rep. Tammy Story
"I am saddened to hear about another tragedy at Denver East High School. Just weeks ago, students from East WALKED to the Capitol demanding action from legislators. My heart goes out to those who were affected by today's tragedy and I will continue to fight to keeps students safe."

Rep. Leslie Herod
“We are failing our kids. We are failing our educators. And we are failing Denver families. What happened today at East High School is absolutely unacceptable and serves as a reminder that intentional action must accompany our thoughts and prayers. The East High community is making every effort to keep its students safe and supported. Like most of our schools, they are under-resourced to meet the diverse and growing needs and they lack the necessary coordinated supports from a city that is battling against the proliferation of guns. We must do better and we can. When we are asking educators to search students for weapons, we have clearly gotten school safety policies and practices wrong. Curbing youth violence is fundamental to the safety and wellness of our city. Our city’s leaders should be bringing our state’s top experts together to address the root causes of this crisis and to make sure that we never again put our educators on the front line to keep our schools safe. My heart is with the families of those affected by this tragedy and to the entire East High School community. I will not sit on my hands and wait for another tragedy to occur. Together, we will take action. I am with you.”

Rep. Meg Froelich
"The East High students asked us to DO SOMETHING. My kids and their peers have asked us to DO SOMETHING. They marched and left us messages on our cars. When I went to go home that night many were on the ground. I collected them. I hear you. I am committed."

Amanda Sawyer, councilwoman for Denver City Council District 5
"My heart is with the students & faculty at East High School today. We simply cannot expect our children or our educators to go on living like this...As a community leader and as a parent of teenagers (who do not attend East) my heart is with the students, staff, and families right now."

Jamie Torres, councilwoman for Denver City Council District 3
"I’m horrified at the news of another devastating shooting in Denver and at East High School. My prayers are with the two victims taken to the hospital and to the students, faculty, and families who are scared, worried, and mad right now, I am too."

Amanda P. Sandoval, councilwoman for Denver City Council District 1
"I am at a loss for words. As a mother of a Senior at North High school this scares me and breaks my heart. Sending my love and support to our East High School family."

Robin Kniech, Denver City Council councilwoman at-large
"I am wracked with grief and outrage by the shooting at East High, lying at the heart of Denver that is breaking once again. The ripples of harm begin with the adults now fighting for their recovery as a result of measures to try to protect their students. We pray for them. But the trauma extends outward to every student, teacher and staff member at East. It impacts families like mine with kids on lockout in school nearby with the shooter at-large. The uncertainty pervades every family in every community with second thoughts about attending school. Our community convened with East just weeks ago to discuss the complexities of gun and youth violence prevention, and as difficult as it's going to be, we must pick up and double down on that work again once we get through today. Our kids demand no less of us."

Chris Hinds, councilman for Denver City Council District 10
"I am heartbroken for the East community. Our students, faculty, and staff deserve to feel and be safe at school."

This list will be updated.