Dec 13, 2013 5:40 PM by David Randall
CENTENNIAL, Colo. - A gunman opened fire at a high school in Colorado on Friday, wounding two fellow students before killing himself, authorities said.
One of the students who was wounded confronted the gunman, who shot the youth at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said. That student was in surgery in serious condition, he said.
The second injured student was reported in good condition with a minor gunshot wound.
The shooter, a male student, said he was looking for a specific teacher by name when the incident began about 12:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), Robinson said.
"The teacher exited the school immediately, which was, in my opinion, the most important decision he could have made," Robinson said. "It was a very good tactical decision to try to take the student with him."
Police found the shooter in a classroom about 20 minutes after they began their search, Robinson said. He said investigators knew his identity and were talking to his family.
"We heard gunshots - one, two, three - and we kind of looked at each other, and we knew it was real," said Jack Berning, a student at the school.
"There were more gunshots happening. They stopped, and I heard a woman screaming," he said, adding:
"I was just freaking out. I don't know."
Parents were being asked to go to nearby Shepherd of the Hills Church, the sheriff's office said. They dropped whatever they were doing to rush to the scene - one was seen in full medical scrubs, as though he had just raced out of a doctor's office, NBC station KUSA of Denver reported.
A janitor first spotted the gunman and alerted authorities. The man, who said he wanted to be identified only by his first name, Fabian, said the gunman was running side to side, kind of military style."
"I looked to see if there was a gun," Fabian told KUSA. "It was a shotgun."
"When he went into the library, he said, 'Where is Murphy?'" Fabian said.
Robinson confirmed that the gunman was armed with a shotgun.
They said that while they had no indication of a second shooter, they were proceeding as though there might be one as a matter of caution. Students were led out of the building in an orderly evacuation, filing out in lines with their arms in the air. Some were patted down by police.
"The kids have been through a traumatic situation," Robinson said. "We need to ensure that anyone we evacuate isn't part of our problem. We're doing the evacuation slowly and deliberately."
President Barack Obama was briefed about the shooting, White House officials said.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the incident "an unspeakable horror," telling reporters at a news briefing that "this is a good school district."
Arapahoe High School, with 2,000 students, is an affluent suburb of Denver. It's about 8 miles away - but in a different school district - from Columbine High School, where two disaffected students shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher in April 1999.
It's also in the same county where James Eagan Holmes is accused of having killed 12 people in a movie theater in the town of Aurora last year.
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