Denver: one student killed and seven injured in shooting at school

Several are in critical condition, sheriffs department says, and the two suspected shooters are in custody

One 18-year-old student was killed and seven teenagers were injured when two students opened fire on Tuesday inside a charter school in an affluent community in Denver, Colorado.


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Sheriff Tony Spurlock of Douglas county said the pair walked into the Stem School Highlands Ranch, which is located not far from Columbine high school, and began shooting students in two classrooms. Within minutes, deputies at a nearby sheriffs department substation entered the school and arrested the two suspects after a struggle.

As officers were arriving at the school, they could still hear gunshots, the Douglas county undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth said.

I have to believe that the quick response of the officers that got inside that school helped save lives, Spurlock said.

Sheriffs officials said Devon Erickson, 18, and a younger student walked into the school on Tuesday afternoon and opened fire on students in two classrooms, prompting students to run shouting through the halls or to hide out of sight as gunfire echoed through the school. Police said that two handguns were used and the juvenile is a female.

Josh Dutton, 18, told the Associated Press that he was close friends with Devon Erickson in middle school but had not seen him for four years as he went to a different high school. On Sunday, he spotted Erickson at a local light rail station and said he was shocked at how much his friend had changed.

Erickson wore all black, a hat and sunglasses, was significantly skinnier and didnt seem interested in talking. He said hed just turned 18 and he owned rifles, Dutton said.

The shooting occurred at Stem School Highlands Ranch, a public charter school with more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through 12th grades about 15km south of the center of Denver.

Stem Highlands Ranch students were taken to a nearby recreation center after at eight students were injured during a shooting. Photograph: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images


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Lines of firetrucks, ambulances and law enforcement vehicles from multiple agencies were at the school, and medical helicopters landed on a grassy field.

The sheriffs office directed parents to a nearby recreational center to pick up their children. A fleet of school buses arrived and dropped off students, many of them young children. Some of whom were crying and holding hands with their classmates as they were helped off. An ambulance also pulled up and let out a half-dozen children, none of whom appeared to be physically injured.

The shooting came nearly three weeks after neighboring Littleton marked the grim 20th anniversary of the Columbine school massacre that killed 13 people. The two schools are separated by about 11km in adjacent communities south of Denver.

Tragically, this community and those surrounding it know all too well these hateful and horrible acts of violence, a White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said in a statement. President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting and was in touch with state and local officials, Deere said.

Student Christian Paulson told the KMGH television station that he was in study hall when he saw kids running and shouting, School shooter!

And Im like, What? Is this real or fake? And then I just went after them, Paulson said. And apparently, this is all real. And I tried to run with my life, but Im out of breath.

Stem school parents gather in a circle to pray after a shooting at the Highlands Ranch school. Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP

Rocco DeChalk, who lives near the school, told the KUSA television station that he saw so many students running past his house that at first he thought it was a gym class. He went outside and saw a teenage boy who had been shot in the back being helped by a teacher and another student.

They brought the boy into his kitchen and alerted a police officer, who sent for an ambulance.

He made a comment, Oh, Im starting to feel it now, DeChalk said. I told him that was probably the adrenaline kicking in and he was going into shock.

Three area hospitals reported treating eight people in connection with the attack. Two were listed in serious condition, two were listed as stable, one was in good condition and three were released.

Colorados governor, Jared Polis, said in a statement that he was making state public-safety resources available to help secure the site and evacuate students. The heart of all Colorado is with the victims and their families, he said.


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Jared Polis (@GovofCO)

We are making all of our public safety resources available to assist the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in their effort to secure the site and evacuate the students. We are monitoring the situation in real time. The heart of all Colorado is with the victims & their families.

May 7, 2019

Jason Crow, a Democratic representative and gun-control supporter whose congressional district includes the Highlands Ranch school, said the gun violence cannot continue.

It is not enough to send thoughts and prayers. It is empty. It is weak, and it does an injustice to our children who are on the frontlines of this violence, he said.

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