Accused Colorado school shooters, both to be tried as adults, face dozens of charges
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. - Prosecutors have charged two suspects in the STEM charter school shooting in Colorado with murder and dozens of other charges, but a judge is keeping details about them secret for now.
Citing electronic court documents, local media had already reported the number of charges at 48, with 30 of them being arrest charges and the rest main charges, including attempted first-degree murder, arson and theft. In a Tuesday news conference, District Attorney George Brauchler declined to confirm what charges and how many his office has leveled against Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, because of the judge's order.
Brauchler said in court, however, that he will charge McKinney as an adult with first-degree murder.
Both suspects, dressed in jail uniforms, appeared separately in a courtroom that included the family of Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old student who was killed in the shooting at the suburban Denver school when classmates said he lunged at a shooter and helped stop the attack from escalating. Neither Erickson nor McKinney spoke beyond quietly answering the judge with yes or no.
Eight students were injured in the latest shooting in a state that has seen many incidents of gun violence. Deep divides have opened over politics and gun control in this suburban and rural county just south of Denver.
On Thursday, a mother of a STEM student sobbed on the shoulder of an officer in the lobby of a Douglas County Sheriff's Office, thanking law enforcement for their quick action. On her way out the door, she told a reporter she hoped the focus would be on mental health and not guns in the wake of the attack.
Court documents in the cases against both suspects remain sealed, and a records custodian in a Douglas County Sheriff's Office last week told The Washington Post that authorities would not release 911 calls or information related to a home where one of the suspects lived.
More hearings for the suspects are scheduled for next month.
"As you can imagine with a case this size we're not going to get it wrapped up in a week," Brauchler said in a news conference outside the courtroom today. He said the FBI, ATF and other local law enforcement agencies have also been involved in the investigation.
Lawyers for Erickson and McKinney declined to talk about the case Tuesday.
In Colorado, thousands of cases, including ones that involve violent felonies, are kept from public view, the Denver Post found in an investigation last year. Colorado also has a provision in its open records laws that allows law enforcement to keep secret information if it believes it is contrary to the public interest.
A memorial service for Castillo, who would have graduated this spring, was scheduled for the same day as the hearings.
This article was written by Corey Hutchins, a reporter for The Washington Post.