iOS app Android app More

Deer Creek Middle School Shooting: At Least Two Shot In Incident In Littleton, Colorado

First Posted: 04/25/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:35 PM ET

UPDATE: 10:59 PM The Denver Post is reporting that the suspect in custody is 32-year-old Bruco Strongeagle Eastwood. According to KDVR, Eastwood is a convicted felon with a rap sheet that includes arrests for domestic violence, assault, menacing, driving under the influence and motor vehicle theft.

The Post interviewed Eastwood's father, who described the alleged shooter as "different." "I don't know why he did this, but he's always had problems."


* * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE: 7:58 PM -- LITTLETON, Colo. (AP)- A teacher tackled a man armed with a high-powered rifle just after two teenage students were shot Tuesday at a suburban Denver middle school that's just miles from Columbine High School, the site of one of the nation's deadliest school shootings, authorities said.

One male and one female were shot at about 3:30 p.m. outside Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, Jefferson County Sheriff's office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. Both students were taken to a nearby hospital and were expected to survive.

Student Steven Seagraves said he was about 10 feet away when an adult approached students and asked them: "Do you guys go to this school?"

When the students said they did, he shot them, Seagraves said.

Seventh-grade math teacher David Benke, a 6-foot-5 inch former college basketball player who oversees the school's track team, tackled the suspect as he was trying to reload his weapon.

"He was trying to rack another round. He couldn't get another round in before I got to him so I grabbed him," Benke said, recalling that he didn't have time to fear for his life.

Benke's wife said her husband called her after the shooting.

"He said there was a shooting and that he had to tackle the gunman," Sandra Benke said. She said her husband was upset that he couldn't reach the shooter before two rounds were fired. "He said 'It was one of my students.'"

Authorities haven't released the victims' names, but say they both had surgery Tuesday evening.

Bus driver Steve Potter said he was about to pull away from the school with a full bus when he heard a loud bang that sounded like an M-80 firecracker. Students screamed when they spotted the man with a rifle, Potter told KMGH-TV.

"He looked like he was just kind of looking around for someone to shoot," he said.

Potter said he saw Benke grab the suspect so he and another man jumped on the gunman and helped hold him until police arrived.

"He's the real hero," Potter said of Benke. "All the credit goes to him."

The suspect's name hasn't been released, but authorities say he's 32 and that he doesn't appear to have any connection to the school. He's expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday morning and may face at least two counts of attempted murder.

Kevin Zwolinski, another student, said he had just boarded a school bus when he heard two shots and saw one of the victims fall to the ground.

"I thought it could have been like a tire might have been popped, but as soon as I turned around and saw everyone running I knew it was a gun," he said.

Zwolinski said everyone on the bus was told to lie silently on the floor until authorities arrived.

The school is about three miles southwest of Columbine High School, where two teens - Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris - killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others before killing themselves in 1999.

The middle school was temporarily locked down with about 30 students in the building. They were eventually taken to a nearby elementary school, where they were to meet up with their parents.

Students' parents were alerted through text messages, phone calls and e-mails, Jefferson County Schools spokeswoman Melissa Reeves said.

Kelley said authorities don't yet have a motive for the shootings.

"Why this school, why this happened, why these students, we don't have any of those answers yet," she said.

-----
Tuesday's shooting was actually the second shooting at Deer Creek. WATCH KUSA's coverage of an incident in 1982 during which a student was killed after being shot in the stomach:

A Deer Creek Middle School shooting took place this afternoon in Littleton, Colorado, according to reports.

CBS 4 Denver is reporting that two young people were shot and suffered "non life-threatening injuries."

The suspect, an adult male, is in custody, according to The Denver Post.

Classes ended at 3:05 p.m. today and the incident reportedly happened shortly after that.

Jacki Kelley, spokesperson for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, told local media one victim was shot inside the school and the other outside of it.

One of the two victims was a 14-year-old, per 9News.

The Jefferson County Public Schools Twitter page posted, "Incident reported at Deer Creek Middle School. Jeffco Sheriffs Office on the scene." It later said that parents had been informed and they could pick up their kids at Stony Creek Elementary School.

The Post reports that Deer Creek Middle School math teacher David Benke tackled the shooter, described by a witness as "a man with long hair, wearing a black hat and black jacket."

Deer Creek Middle School is located at 9201 W. Columbine Dr. in Littleton, Jefferson County. It offers grades 7-8 and 525 students attend.

Jefferson County was also the site of the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999.

This is a developing story...

FOLLOW HUFFPOST DENVER

Filed by Craig Kanalley  |