Shooting in Colorado School
Last month, as the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting approached, STEM School Highlands Ranch united countless colleges near Denver in closing temporarily amid security concerns. The anniversary came and went, and schools returned to their own routines.
But on Tuesday afternoon, the STEM school’s worst fears were realized when nine of its pupils were shot, one fatally, along with two fellow students were being held as suspects.
“We know two individuals walked to the STEM college, obtained deep inside the school and engaged pupils in two different places,” Sheriff Tony Spurlock of Douglas County said in a news conference.
At 6:45 p.m., about five hours after the shooting, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office released a statement confirming that one of the nine who had been captured, an 18-year-old person, had died.
Late Tuesday night, the sheriff’s office identified among the suspects as Devon Erickson, 18, but said it would provide no further info about him because”we have interviews to conduct and we want to make sure we have the most accurate information.”
Police tape was strung outside the prim brick suburban home where neighbors said Mr. Erickson’s family has lived since the late 1990s. A next-door neighbor who declined to be named described him as a quiet young man who occasionally deflected eye contact and played several musical instruments.
Sheriff Spurlock said the suspects, who were armed with a handgun and other weapons, confronted law enforcement officers when they came.
“I can tell you there were shots fired,” he explained. “Our officers moved in and participated the suspects. We did struggle with the suspects to take them .”
Sheriff Spurlock said neither suspect was on law enforcement’s radar prior to the shooting and that the motive was unknown.
The sheriff said the injured students were age 15 or older.
Pupils who weren’t injured were taken to Northridge Recreation Center at Highlands Ranch, where countless anxious parents assembled to search to their children on Tuesday afternoon.
“I heard a gunshot,” said Makai Dixon, 8, another grader who had been training for this moment, together with active shooter drills and lockdowns, because he had been in kindergarten. “I had never heard it before.”
Makai’s parents said they joined thousands of other people in hurrying to the school as news blazed through this suburban community.
“We’re more awakened than they are,” Makai’s mother, Rocio, stated as they walked into their car.
The shooting in the Highlands Ranch charter school is your latest at an educational institution, rattling communities nationally because young people have been put in mortal danger in areas considered safe havens. One week earlier, a man with a pistol shot six people on the last day of spring courses at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, killing two.
On Tuesday, as wave after wave of classes had been released from the diversion center in Highlands Ranch, high schoolers began walking out from tears, reaching to their parents’ arms and hugging their educators.
Tyler Rush, 17, a junior, said he had been on the second floor of the faculty, just above where the shooting occurred. He said that it began during the day’s final phase and the school declared a lockdown at the middle school section of the construction. He and his classmates assembled in a corner and turned out the lights. Some cried. Some sat paralyzed.
He also heard two gunshots.
“I had been in a state of shock,” he said.
Littleton Adventist Hospital in Colorado said five people were transported there after Tuesday’s shooting. Two have been in serious condition while three’ve already been discharged, the hospital said. Sky Ridge Medical Center said two kids were transported there and were in stable condition. Children’s Hospital Colorado stated one victim was treated at its south campus and then published.
While specifics of how the shooting occurred remained sparse, one parent said students had attempted to stop the attack.
Brad Bialy stated his oldest son, Brendan, a senior, told him he was in class when gunfire erupted.
He said his son and two friends tried to handle the gunman but one of those boys was shot in the chest. Other students tried to stanch the bleeding by putting pressure on his torso, Mr. Bialy explained.
Fernando Montoya told that a local television station that his 17-year-old son, a junior, was captured three times. He was taken to a hospital but was going to be published.
“Thank God he is fine,” Mr. Montoya stated.
He said after news of the shooting broke, he could not hit his son and was in a state of shock until they could talk to each other.
“We’re so lucky,” Mr. Montoya said.
Sheriff Spurlock said the faculty, which has about 1,800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, had no police officer assigned to it used personal safety rather, but he didn’t state what activities that safety service could have taken during the shooting.
The sheriff stated that the school alerted law enforcement”almost immediately following the first gunshots were fired” and deputies came roughly two minutes later.
“I must feel that the quick response of officers that obtained inside that college helped save lives,” the sheriff said.
Earlier in the afternoon, local news media showed video footage of tear-stricken parents collecting close to the school as two air ambulance helicopters arrived at the scene after the shooting, that was reported before two p.m.
Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado said the state government was monitoring the situation.
“We’re making all of our public safety resources available to assist the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in their attempt to ensure the website and evacuate the students,” he said on Twitter. “The heart of all Colorado is using the victims & their families”
Other schools in the district remain open, he added, with”heightened security.”
Douglas County is an affluent region south of Denver with about 350,000 people. It sits next to Jefferson County, home to Columbine High School, and pupils there are already primed to watch for gunmen.
Last month, countless schools in the Denver area were shut as law enforcement searched for a Florida woman who they said had made dangers before the 20th anniversary of the fatal shooting that claimed 13 lives at Columbine High School, which is roughly seven kilometers from the website of Tuesday’s shooting.
The woman, Sol Pais, 18, was found lifeless on April 17 of a clear self-inflicted shotgun wound from the hills west of Denver.
Douglas County is more conservative than traditionally blue Denver, and just like much of the area has been at the center of the national debate over gun violence.
Last month, Mr. Polis signed into legislation a so-called Red Flag bill, permitting authorities to take firearms from people deemed a threat after a court hearing. The bill divided the country, and a few sheriffs said they would not enforce it, while some counties began calling themselves”Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
In Douglas County, the county commission criticized the invoice , saying they feared it threatened constitutional liberties, while Sheriff Spurlock emerged as among its most vocal supporters.
The area’s history of gun violence was front and center in the past year’s election for its United States representative.
Mr. Crow campaigned openly on gun control — including universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and limitations on high-capacity publications — and also the problem dominated the race.
He was one of several public figures to express his sorrow on Twitter on Tuesday.
“It’s with broken hearts that we react to the information coming from Highlands Ranch,” he wrote. “We don’t have the details regarding the problem at STEM faculty, but we do know this: we have a public health crisis on our hands. This cannot continue.”
Patrick Neville, a Columbine survivor and the top Republican lawmaker in the Colorado House of Representatives, said in a statement that the shooting was a reminder”of the need to secure our colleges.”
He explained armed security guards and facility upgrades were the very best way to keep students safe.
“School safety programs including armed security and safety upgrades to college facilities would be the ideal way to prevent these criminals from harming our kids,” he said.
There have been a number of high-profile shootings in Colorado in the past few decades.
In 2010, a guy shot two pupils with a high-powered rifle at a suburban middle school near Highlands Ranch.
In 2013, a student in Centennial, Colo., killed himself after he fatally shot another student in the mind.