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Juvenile male arrested after teen shot outside middle school

Denver police said a juvenile male was arrested overnight in connection with a shooting near Cole Middle School in northeast Denver Tuesday afternoon that left a teen critically injured.
Credit: KUSA
Police activity in the 3200 block of North Marion Street.

KUSA — A juvenile male was arrested overnight in connection with a shooting near DSST: Cole Middle School in northeast Denver Tuesday afternoon that left a teen critically injured, Denver police said in a Tweet. He's being held for investigation of aggravated assault.

The sole victim in the shooting was described by police as a juvenile male. He remains in critical condition, Denver Police said Wednesday morning. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg said the victim is a 13-year-old or 14-year-old boy. Boasberg also said officials were at the hospital with the victim.

Neither Boasberg nor Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen could say if he was a student at the schools near the crime scene at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Marion Street in northeast Denver. A spokesperson for DPS confirmed the teen was a student of the district.

DPS posted on Facebook at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday that a suspect had been taken into custody, but Denver police clarified that was not the case. The School District later updated their Facebook post to say the information was incorrect.

9NEWS reached out to DPS spokesperson Will Jones to get some more information about the mix-up. on Tuesday. He said a commander with DPS security said someone was taken into custody after allegedly hearing from DPD.

DPS sent that information to parents and DPD had to get with the School District to correct the statement, Jones said. DPS has since sent out an email to parents giving them the correct information - that a suspect was not in custody as of Tuesday evening.

DPD confirmed to 9NEWS no arrest had been made as of late Tuesday night, but said early Wednesday morning that a juvenile male had been arrested overnight.

Jones told 9NEWS that the School District was faced with a challenging situation on Tuesday and that his office wants families to know they value highly getting information to parents quickly and accurately.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Twitter that he was able to meet with the parents of the teenager shot near Cole Middle.

"While in shock," he wrote, "they know #Denver is with them."

There are 1,200 students enrolled at the three schools housed in two buildings on the campus near where the shooting occurred. Those schools are DSST: Cole High School, DSST: Cole Middle School and Cole Arts and Science Academy. All three schools were placed on lockdown and Denver Public Schools began a controlled release of the students around 3:30 p.m.

“We look at all possible angles with these types of situations, and it’s an investigation that’s in its earliest stages,” Pazen said.

Pazen did not offer details about what led up to the shooting and declined to comment on if it is being investigated as gang-related.

9NEWS reporter Ryan Ryan Haarer spoke to a concerned relative who was waiting outside the Cole campus just an hour after the shooting was reported.

Tasha Martinez said at the time she was nervous for her grandchildren, who attended the nearby schools.

“I’m really nervous because I don’t know where they’re at,” she said. “I asked the officer, and he said they were going through the school and that I couldn’t check on them.”

A neighbor told 9NEWS reporter Noel Brennan that she heard five gunshots.

Despite Tuesday’s lockdown and controlled release, Denver Public Schools Chief of Public Safety Michael Eaton said it will be business as usual on Wednesday.

“We hope to get students back to normalcy on the Cole campus,” Eaton said.

The three schools are on the grounds of the old Cole High School campus that was shuttered by Denver Public Schools more than a decade ago.

Cole Middle was Maria Mitchell Middle School until 2011. During a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Pazen referred to it by its former name.

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