Gunshots were heard as deputies ran toward the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Two suspects, believed to be students at the school, had made their way inside and were shooting inside two classrooms.
The shooting started in the high school just before 2 p.m., authorities said. The suspects walked into the school, and “got deep inside the school,” engaging students in two separate locations, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. Deputies arrived within two minutes and engaged the suspects, struggling with the suspects to take them into custody, he said.
18-year-old student Kendrick Castillo was killed and eight other students were injured in the shooting, authorities said. The youngest victim is 15 years old.
The sheriff’s office announced. Castillo was killed when the suspects opened fire in a classroom at the K-12 charter school located south of Denver.
While in a British literature class, Castillo, “lunged [at the suspect],” and was shot because of it, according to a fellow student at the school.
The student told NBC News’ “Today” show on Wednesday that Castillo’s actions “[gave] all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape.”
Quick-responding officers engaged with the shooters and caught them at the scene. Another STEM senior, Brendan Bialy – a recruit for the US Marine Corps- is also being praised as a hero for helping subdue one of the gunmen. His father told The New York Times that “his son told him that two students entered the classroom and one pulled a gun out of a guitar case.” That matches an account provided to Denver7 by another parent.
An armed private security guard hired to work at the STEM School was the first to confront one of the shooting suspects. The security officer, is a former Marine now in his late 20’s or early 30’s Whitus said. He also worked as a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy for about three years, before transiting to the private sector.
Authorities identified one of the shooters as Devon Erickson, 18. The second suspect was not yet named. The Denver Channel reported that the second suspect was transgender and local media reports that the suspect is transgender and transitioning from female to male.
The sheriff said in a press conference that suspect two is a “juvenile female.”
“We originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance,” the sheriff said. “I did the press release very early on before the detectives were able to get medical… were able to speak to her.”
Who is Devon Erickson? The details the media left out…
Devon Erickson – a youth actor in local theater productions – is a registered Democrat. On social media, the 18-year-old expressed hatred for Christians and shared posts criticizing president Donald Trump and praising Barack Obama.
“You know what I hate? All these Christians who hate gays, yet in the bible, it says in Deuteronomy 17:12-13, if someone doesn’t do what their priest tells them to do, they are supposed to die. It has plenty of crazy stuff like that,” he wrote in one Facebook post. “But all they get out of it is ‘ewwwwww gays.’” In 2015, Erickson put a celebrate pride filter onto a Facebook picture.
In 2016, he shared a video of Seth Meyers criticizing President Donald Trump.
The year before he shared an Occupy Democrats post praising then President Barack Obama. Newer posts aren’t visible
His Facebook page says he lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
John Fenton, a news producer with CBS Denver, wrote that the “car towed from #stemshooting suspect’s home apparently has ‘F*** SOCIETY’ spray painted on the side. Also ‘666’ and a what looks like a pentagram sprayed on the hood.” The sheriff said the “graffiti on” the car is still being analyzed. He said he had no specific information on “what it means or where it came from.”
Erickson will appear in court at 1:30 p.m. on May 8. It’s not clear when the other suspect will appear in court.
The school will be closed for the remainder of the week, according to the Douglas County School District Superintendent.
UPDATE: School shooter Devon Erickson is scheduled to return to court Friday when charges are formally filed.
Erickson did not enter a plea during his court appearance on Wednesday, and a bond was not discussed as formal charges have not been filed.
Erickson is being held on suspicion of one count of first-degree murder after deliberation and 29 counts of attempted first-degree murder after deliberation.
Erickson will remain in custody until his court appearance Friday.
This article is being updated as more information is learned.
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