A Minnesota youth football player was among at least 15 people shot in suburban Denver on Saturday, a bloody day that followed the mass murder of 12 people at a liberal arts college in another college town less than a week earlier.
The Minnesota youth, aged 14 and 15, was hit by a bullet while walking down the street in Arvada, Colorado, where a 20-year-old shooter later opened fire during a high school football game, striking multiple spectators.
The Minnesota youth was taken to a local hospital, but was released in time to be in attendance for the game.
“We have been in touch with his family and as you can imagine, they are just devastated,” said Brandy Schlatter, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Youth Football League, in a statement. “We are also relieved that our team member is OK.”
It is still unclear what motivated the attack, which occurred during the Arvada West High School game against rival Regis Jesuit. Authorities are treating the attack as an isolated incident.
Police offered little information about the shooter, except to say that he had been kicked out of the high school football game earlier in the afternoon for fighting.
The attack in Arvada came less than a week after the shooting of nine people in the liberal arts college town of Roseburg, Oregon, located about 50 miles west of Portland. As many as 130 people were wounded in that incident, including a professor shot in the throat. The shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, 23, had been toting a military-style camouflage-colored camouflage weapon and shot himself after being confronted by police.
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Arvada is located just south of Denver. The high school is a few miles away from the city of Aurora, where 12 people were killed at a shooting at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater in 2012.
Law enforcement officials held a news conference on Saturday, in which they expressed their confidence that no additional suspects were involved.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, D, said that authorities would continue “to do what we can” to keep the community safe. “We will track down the gunman, we will hold him accountable and we will make sure that justice is served.”
Hickenlooper, in a separate news conference, blamed high property taxes for contributing to the high crime rate in Colorado. “The high property taxes put enormous amounts of money into the (school) districts, especially when you don’t have wealth,” Hickenlooper said. “So it’s hard to pay teachers or keep your schools up and running.”
The problem of high school violence is not new. In 2015, 12 high school students were shot in an attack on their Denver school that left two dead and three wounded.