At Least 2 Handguns Used in School Shooting Near Columbine
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) — Two handguns were used by two Colorado high school students to attack the charter school they attended, killing one classmate and wounding eight others in and assault on Wednesday near Columbine High School.
Due to the fact that the shooting happened at STEM School Highland Ranch just days after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, questions were quickly asked about whether or not it was inspired by the 1999 massacre.
Investigators have offered no immediate motive.
Douglas County sheriff’s officials said 18-year-old Devon Erickson and a younger student who is a juvenile and was not identified walked into the STEM School Highlands Ranch through an entrance without metal detectors and opened fire in two classrooms.
Sheriff Tony Spurlock told reporters that the suspects had a “number of weapons,” including two handguns they were not old enough to buy or own.
Authorities on Tuesday identified the juvenile suspect as a boy, but Spurlock on Wednesday told reporters that the suspect is a girl.
“We originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance,” Spurlock said.
He declined to comment when asked by reporters if the person is transgender.
Television station KMGH reported late Tuesday that the juvenile suspect is a transgender male in the process of transitioning from female to male. The station cited anonymous sources close to the investigation.
The student who was killed was 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, authorities said.
Student Nui Giasolli told NBC’s “Today” show that she was in her British literature class when Erickson came in late and pulled out a gun.
Castillo lunged at the gunman, who shot the teen. Castillo’s actions gave the rest of the class time to get underneath their desks and then run across the room to escape to safety, Giasolli said.
Rachel Short said Castillo was a funny and empathetic person who loved others and was a part-time employee at her manufacturing company, Bacara USA.
“To find he went down as a hero, I’m not surprised. That’s exactly who Kendrick was,” Short said.
Cecilia Bedard, 19, knew Castillo since elementary school and said he was always friendly, modest and excited to help people. He made a point of always joining his father at Knights of Columbus fundraisers and bingo nights.
“He was amazing,” Bedard said. “He was honestly the sweetest kid I ever met. Never said a mean joke.”
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