Highlands Ranch STEM School Shooting: Suspects, Death Toll, and Motives
The Highlands Ranch STEM School shooting on Tuesday left one student dead, and 8 others injured, according to the Denver channel. Two suspects are in custody, one is an adult male and one a juvenile transgender female who was in the transition process of becoming a male. Officers said that they initially thought the suspect was a male based on her appearance.
#DEVELOPING: Students shiver in cold spring rain as they load up outside K-12 STEM School in Highlands Ranch. Eight students injured in school shooting. Two suspects in custody. pic.twitter.com/7TNFXRmpXY— Russell Haythorn (@RussellHaythorn) May 7, 2019
The suspects were identified as students at the Highlands Ranch STEM school. The adult male was Devon Erickson, 18, a senior at the school. He only had traffic citations on his record. The juvenile was not named. Erickson will appear in court May 8. It is unclear when the juvenile will go before the juvenile court.
Devon Erickson is a registered Democrat, and on social media expressed hatred for Christians and President Trump, according to Heavy.com. He had a post from Occupy Democrats that praised former President Obama. Erickson was said to be a guitar-playing youth actor involved in several community productions.
The Denver Channel reported:
“The sources said that the motive of the alleged shooters went beyond bullying and involved revenge and anger towards others at the school and that at least one of the suspects was involved in legal and illegal drug use and had been in therapy…
“… As of 6 p.m., two of the victims were in serious condition at Littleton Adventist Hospital, officials said, and three had been released from the hospital. One victim was in good condition at Children’s Hospital. Two other victims were at Sky Ridge Medical Center and listed as “stable,” but their conditions were unclear.
Spurlock said the suspects walked into the building, “got deep inside the school” and shot at students at two separate locations. The shooting was reported shortly before 2 p.m., and deputies arrived about two minutes later and engaged the suspects, taking them into custody, [Douglas County Sheriff ] Spurlock said. “
Initial reports stated the shooting took place inside the middle school. But the Sheriff stated it was in the high school inside the classrooms, with the two shooters firing at different locations. Three handguns and a rifle were located, though the rifle was not used in the shooting. The two were not apprehended at the same classroom, according to authorities.
Erickson’s car was towed from the scene. It was covered in sick graffiti, according to a news producer with CBS Denver. Because police found tactical gear inside one of the suspect’s vehicles, they used a bomb-robot to check it and applied for a search warrant for the car.
There are acts of heroism in this tragedy. A young boy named Kendrick Castillo, 18, attempted to help tackle the shooter, but was shot in the chest and killed.
#Kendrickcastillo el jovencito que murió como un héroe, se enfrentó a los pistoleros de #STEMshooting en #HighlandsRanch buscando salvar la vida de sus compañeros .. Dios lo tenga en su gloria 😢😢😢 pic.twitter.com/V6DFiNzt8R— maria paula ochoa (@ochoamariapaula) May 8, 2019
Translation of the tweet: “#Kendrickcastillo the young man who died as a hero, faced the gunmen #STEMshooting in #HighlandsRanch seeking to save the lives of his companions.. May God have it in his glory 😢😢😢”
Another boy, Brendan Bialy was credited with helping to tackle one of the shooters. He told authorities that the shooters entered the school, and one – likely Erickson – pulled a gun out of a guitar case and opened fire. Bialy was not shot. He reportedly has plans to become a US Marine. Good job, Brendan! (conflicting reports spelled his name (Brendan Brialy).
The attorney for Brendan Bialy’s family sent me this message about the actions Brendan, a student, took during the #STEMshooting today. He says it is well known to authorities that Brendan helped tackle the shooters. #9News pic.twitter.com/0VW4aIsYlF— Katie Eastman (@KatieEastman) May 8, 2019
There were other students who assisted in tackling the shooter, although it is unclear which shooter and which students. One of them was said to have been shot in the leg during the attempt. They are all heroes. It takes tremendous inner strength to run into danger instead of away from it.
Police arrived within two minutes and had the two suspects in custody. But sometimes it’s that split second of time that saves lives. The school does not have a school resource officer and there are no metal detectors.
Featured photo: Instagram/Facebook photos of Devon Erickson via Heavy.com