WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — A 16-year-old boy tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire at his suburban Denver high school, authorities tell CBS News.
Thee teen walked into the cafeteria of Standley Lake High School just after 7 a.m.
A witness told KOA-TV he poured gasoline all over himself then set himself ablaze.
A quick-thinking janitor grabbed the nearest fire extinguisher and put out the fire, says the police report.
Horrified students watched the young man writh in agony on the cafeteria floor.
Teachers and staff lead the students out of the cafeteria. Then they closed school for the rest of the day.
As the teachers and staff evacuated the school and contacted parents, emergency crews arrived and rushed the teen to the hospital.
A spokeswoman says the student is in critical condition, with burns over 80 percent of his body.
The teen is not being named because he is a juvenile.
Police say they are doing everything that they can to find out what drove this 16-year-old to commit this act.
Monday’s incident was the latest to affect a Denver-area school in recent weeks.
On Thursday, Columbine High School, where two gunmen killed 13 people in 1999, went on high security alert after receiving a series of threatening phone calls. The alert applied to a half-dozen other schools in the area, in the same school district as Standley Lake, but was lifted the same day.
On Dec. 13, student gunman Karl Pierson, 17, fatally shot Claire Davis, a 17-year-old classmate at Arapahoe High School in Centennial before killing himself in the school’s library. Pierson reportedly had threatened a teacher and librarian who had disciplined him last year and allegedly was seeking that teacher when he entered the school, investigators have said.
Colorado state lawmakers are considering a bill to spend about $250,000 to continue a hotline students and teachers can use to report threats and bullying anonymously. State officials say the hotline has prevented more than two dozen school attacks since its creation in 2004.
Westminster was home to 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, who was abducted on her way to school and killed in 2012. Austin Sigg, who was 17 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to a life sentence plus 86 years. Jessica’s disappearance put Westminster and neighboring Denver suburbs on edge as police, aided by an army of volunteers, searched for her and then her killer.
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