Gunman Claims To Have Hostages At A Front Range High School

Bailey, Colo. (AP) _ A gunman has taken at least two people hostage inside a high school in the tiny Colorado mountain town of Bailey -- prompting the evacuation of hundreds of students amid reports that several shots had been fired.

Colorado Department of Public Safety Spokesman Lance Clem Says one hostage has been released. There are no immediate reports of injuries. Superintendent's secretary Jan Howard says the evacuation of Platte Canyon High school came after a loud noise, but she didn't know what the noise was.

Sheriff's Spokeswoman Jacki Kelley says the department has received information that several shots were fired inside the school. Howard says students have been taken to a safe location, but that parents may not be able to reach them immediately because U.S. Highway 285 is closed in both directions for a four-mile stretch. It's the only route in and out of town.

Jefferson County authorities are all too familiar with school attacks: The sheriff's office handled the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in which two students killed 13 people before taking their own lives.

Platte Canyon High School and the adjoining Fitzsimmons Middle School are located in a narrow, winding canyon carved by the south Platte river, about 35 miles southwest of Denver. The two schools have an enrollment of about 770 students, with 460 in the high school.

(Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)