Dean of Denver high school says student was previously spotted with gun before shooting


A student who shot two administrators at a Denver high school in March before later apparently killing himself had been seen with a gun there in the weeks before, according to one of them.

Another student reported the sighting to the administration at East High School but when officials went to search Austin Lyle, he fled, Wayne Mason, a dean at the school, said Monday in his first comments about the shooting.

“That is the biggest red flag. Then he was allowed back into the school,” said Mason, who was identified in the school’s directory and in previous news reports as Jerald Mason.

A spokesperson for Denver Public Schools, Scott Pribble, said has not been able to verify Mason’s account yet.

Mason and Eric Sinclair, a fellow dean, were shot by Lyle on March 22. School and police officials have said they were shot while Lyle was undergoing a pat-down being conducted by the two deans that was required by a school safety plan. The administrator who normally performed the pat-down was not available, schools Superintendent Alex Marrero later explained.

But Mason portrayed a more disorganized scene.


According to Mason, Lyle asked for the assistant principal when he arrived at school on March 22, but that official did not answer Mason’s radioed request, The Denver Post reported. According to Mason, Sinclair then took Lyle to an office, where he could hear Sinclair continue to call for the assistant principal on the radio and then a safety officer but got no response. It’s not clear what happened next, but Mason said Sinclair radioed him, yelling for help.

When Mason entered the office, he said he saw Lyle and Sinclair wrestling and, after Sinclair said “Gun! Gun!” Lyle fired two or three shots. Mason said he then grabbed Lyle’s arm, but the teen managed to turn his wrist toward him and shoot him twice. Lyle continued to aim his gun at them before running away, he said.

Mason, said he forgave Lyle the moment he shot him. The teen was found dead later that day from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

However, Mason questioned why Sinclair was put in the position he was in the first place.

“I was sad that my friend had to go through that,” he said.

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