DENVER – The man who took six girls hostage at a Colorado high school last week was shot four times as the standoff ended — once by his own gun and three times by a police commando team, according to autopsy results released Wednesday by state officials.
Authorities were awaiting more information to determine whether Duane Morrison died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound or the officers' shots, said Lance Clem, spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Morrison, a 53-year-old drifter, had taken six girls hostage at Platte Canyon High School Sept. 27. He released four of them before police commandos blasted their way into Room 206, when authorities say he shot 16-year-old Emily Keyes before shooting himself.
Clem said autopsy results showed that Morrison killed Keyes with a single gunshot to the back of the head. She and the other five girls had been sexually assaulted, Sheriff Fred Wegener has said.
Tests show that Morrison had no drugs or alcohol in his system, Clem said.
Clem also said school surveillance tapes showed Morrison's yellow Jeep in the parking lot of the school near Bailey, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Denver, the day before the shooting. District superintendent Jim Walpole said officials do not know what Morrison had been doing at the school then.
The shooting, one of several at schools across the country in the last several days, was similar to a slaying Monday at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania, in which a man tied up 10 young girls and shot them, killing five, before killing himself.
During a fundraiser Wednesday in Denver for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, President George W. Bush said he has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to lead a meeting of experts to determine how the federal government can help state and local officials deal with school shootings.
"We want to make it certain around the country that the schoolhouse is a safe place for children to learn," Bush said. "May God bless Emily's family."
Students and parents were allowed to return to Platte Canyon High for the first time Wednesday to pick up belongings left behind when the building was evacuated last week. Classes were to resume Thursday.
Room 206 will be sealed off for the rest of the school year, Walpole said Tuesday. He said additional security officers have been hired and adult visitors will be required to wear name tags in the school.
Several hundred students, parents and Bailey-area residents attended a football game Tuesday, the first organized event since the shooting. The game, which was dedicated to Emily's memory, had been originally scheduled for Saturday.