On Wednesday May 8, according to CBS Denver, two teenagers appeared in the Douglas County District Court in Castle Rock. They were arrested the day before as suspects in the shooting at a high school in Highlands Ranch that killed one student and injured eight more.
The first to appear in court was 18-year-old Devon Erickson. He said nothing during his hearing, televised live, only nodding in response to questions. He faces a total of 30 charges against him, including murder and attempted murder.
His suspected accomplice, 16-year-old Alec McKinney, was next to appear in a closed, private hearing. McKinney is transgender, and his attorneys told the court that he prefers masculine pronouns. According to Reuters, McKinney was bullied at school for being trans.
CBS Denver also reported that there is no known motive for the shooting yet.
Local trans activist Mar Luther told OUT FRONT regarding the tragedy:
“While I don’t think there is a direct correlation, it’s hard to believe it is accidental that trans visibility is at an all time high in Denver (due to Amber’s attack) and a week or so later a trans child enacts violence in their school.
While I don’t bring this up as an excuse, because their actions are in no way excusable, I think the necessary conversation in times like these is that trans visibility often results in increased violence towards trans folk. And we know that the majority of trans teens feel unsafe at school, experience bullying, have higher risk of suicide.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, or may be a risk to themselves or others, call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.