US

Colorado School Shooting Suspects Charged With Dozens of Counts, Including Murder

By The Associated Press

DENVER—Two students suspected of opening fire at their school are charged with over a dozen counts of murder and attempted murder as well as theft and arson, prosecutors said on May 15.

The charges came on the same day a memorial service was being held for the one student who was killed in the May 7 shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7. Eight students were injured.

The accused gunmen, 18-year-old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney, were arrested at the school and investigators say they opened fire inside using handguns.

Devon Erickson TEM School Highlands Ranch shooter
Devon Erickson, the accused STEM School Highlands Ranch shooter, appears at the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 8, 2019. (Joe Amon/The Denver Post via AP)

The charges were listed in electronic court records. It wasn’t clear if McKinney was being charged as an adult.

The celebration of 18-year-old’s life will be held at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch. The senior was just days from graduating when he was fatally wounded.

Castillo along with classmates Brendan Bialy and Joshua Jones are credited with helping minimize the bloodshed by charging at one of the suspects in a classroom.

Kendrick Castillo STEM School Highlands Ranch
A photograph of student Kendrick Castillo stands amid a display of tributes outside the STEM School Highlands Ranch a week after the attack on the school that left Castillo dead and others injured in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on May 14, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

According to Bialy, Castillo sprang into action against the shooter “and immediately was on top of him with complete disregard for his own safety.” Jones said he was shot twice in the leg during the ordeal. Bialy said he was able to take the attacker’s weapon.

All the injured students have been released from hospitals.

Teen Called Mom While Subduing School Shooter

A student who helped thwart a shooting at a suburban Denver high school says he was still pinning one of the attackers down when he decided to call one of the most important people in his life — his mother.

Joshua Jones, an 18-year-old senior at STEM School Highlands Ranch, said during a news conference Tuesday he was watching “The Princess Bride” in his British literature class when a classmate pulled a gun and told everyone to stay still. Jones said he was acting on instinct when he, Kendrick Castillo and Brendan Bialy subdued one of two students who attacked the school south of Denver on May 7.

Joshua Jones
Joshua Jones, front, who was wounded while trying to stop a gunman involved in the attack on the STEM School Highlands Ranch last week, speaks during a news conference as his father, David, listens in Littleton, Colo., on May 14, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Castillo was killed, and Jones was shot twice in one leg but said he is recovering quickly.

“There wasn’t a whole lot that was going through my mind at the time. Adrenaline and tunnel vision are a crazy thing,” said Jones, who described himself as just a normal teenage kid. “They make it so that you don’t really focus on anything but what’s right in front of your face at that moment.”

He did, however, have the presence of mind to call his mom.

“She always has been a problem solver for me,” he said, adding that she told him not to worry. “It was a pretty quick conversation.

“It was really just something like, ‘Hey, Mom. There’s been a school shooting. I’ve been involved. The authorities are on the way. They’re going to get an ambulance and I’m going to go to the hospital. That’s all I got right now for you.’”

Lorie Jones
Lorie Jones, back, makes a point while her son Joshua, who was wounded while trying to stop a gunman involved in the attack on the STEM School Highlands Ranch last week, looks on during a news conference in Littleton, Colo., on May 14, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

The second shooter was captured by an armed security guard.

Authorities have said these acts of bravery helped minimize the bloodshed from the attack, which also wounded eight students, all of whom have since been released from the hospital.

“We’re going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said shortly after the shooting.

Jones declined to talk about the shooters Tuesday, instead focusing on Castillo and his own physical and emotional recovery.

He said he is “still in a bit of a funk” emotionally … “but physically, I’m recovering incredibly well. I’m healing fast. I mean, I’m a young kid.”