Two high school students armed with handguns opened fire on their classmates at a Denver-area STEM school on Tuesday afternoon. One teenage boy was killed, and eight other teens were wounded in the attack.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office identified one of the suspects as 18-year-old Devon Erickson but is withholding the name of the second suspect because they’re a juvenile.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said the ATF was assisting their investigation into how the suspects got their guns. “We’re going to investigate that and we will get to the bottom of it to figure out how and what has occurred,” Spurlock said.
The shooting happened around 2 p.m. local time in two classrooms at the STEM Highlands Ranch school, a K-12 school of about 1,800 students.
Law enforcement found tactical gear inside one of the suspect’s cars, which was parked near the school. Their car had “fuck society,” “666” and what appears to be a pentagram scrawled on the outside, CBS-Denver reported.
Spurlock declined to offer any information about motive, saying that it’s too early in the investigation to know for sure. He also clarified confusion around the identity of the younger suspect, but declined to confirm media reports describing them as transgender.
”At the time, the individuals, we believed, were two males,” Spurlock said. “It wasn’t until we got to this office that we realized one of the suspects was a female. You have to understand that this individual is a young person, a small young person, and their identity wasn’t obvious to us.”
Not much is known so far about Erickson. Police got a warrant to search the suburban home where his family has lived since the late 1990s, the New York Times reported. A neighbor told the Times that Erickson played several instruments, and was a quiet young man.
Erickson is due in court Wednesday afternoon. There has been no court date set at this time for the younger suspect.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, was shot dead while he was trying to protect other students.
Nui Giasolli, a student at the school, told the “Today Show” that one of the suspects came into her British Literature class and pulled out a gun. “That’s when Kendrick lunged at him and he shot Kendrick,” Giasolli said, “giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape.”
Another student, 18-year-old Brendan Bialy, is also being hailed as a hero for attempting to tackle one of the shooters. Bialy was uninjured.
As of Wednesday morning, five of the injured had been treated and released. Three remained in area hospitals.
Cover Image: Police tape remains near the scene following Tuesday's shooting at STEM Highlands Ranch school, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)