On May 7, the Highlands Ranch STEM school became another addition to the continuing statistics regarding mass shootings. The two suspects, Alec McKinney and Devon Erickson, injured eight of their classmates and killed one.
The victim of the shooting was Kendrick Castillo. Castillo, alongside various other students, attempted to stop the shooter, which gave their peers time to hide and get out.
I declare today Kendrick Castillo Day in Colorado as we remember the life of the 18-year-old hero who died saving others in last week’s STEM School shooting in Highlands Ranch.
Rest In Peace, Kendrick. Your bravery won’t be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/erjvq4qAr9
— Jared Polis (@GovofCO) May 15, 2019
Erickson blamed his actions on McKinney, a transgender student. He stated McKinney gave him the task to guard the door and prevent students from exiting. According to CNN, the bodycam footage shows Erickson apologizing and, again, placing his actions on McKinney. Erickson’s attorney, David Kaplan, stated his client was not to be charged on all 43 counts because law enforcement had yet to decipher which gun the bullets fired came from.
However, the district judge believed there was enough evidence for probable cause against Erickson. Judge Theresa Slade explained there was evidence showing Erickson to be a part of the plan.
The district judge denied the request to move McKinney’s case to juvenile court. The defense tried to showcase the troubled childhood McKinney’s has had. This tactic was later rebutted by the evidence that shows he had been planning the attack for weeks.
“On behalf of the many, many victims and our community, I am satisfied and pleased that the court agreed that this mass shooting case should be resolved in adult court. I am grateful to the victims and their families for the patience and understanding they have shown as they navigate a challenging and often times slow justice system. My office will continue to do all that we can to support them during this difficult time in their lives,” said District Attorney George Brauchler
“It is my intention to move forward without any additional delay towards the jury trial to which the defendant is entitled. Justice remains our steadfast commitment.”
Erickson is to make another appearance in court on Friday and McKinney December 16.