Affidavit: STEM security guard wounded student; suspects used cocaine before attack

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Court documents in the case against one STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect released June 20 show a private security guard at the school fired gunshots at other responding officers and injured a female student.

The affidavit in the case of Devon Erickson, 18, also shows he told investigators that his co-defendant in the murder case, Alec McKinney, 16, repeatedly threatened his life and forced him to assist in the shooting. The document can be read here.

The May 7 shooting left one student, Kendrick Castillo, dead and eight others wounded. Court records made available online before hearings held last month showed each suspect faced 48 charges, including first-degree murder. Formal charges against Erickson released June 20 include conspiracy to commit murder, arson, providing a juvenile a handgun, burglary and theft, among others.

MORE: STEM School shooting coverage

McKinney told investigators he wanted to transition from female to male. In court, his attorneys say he prefers male pronouns and goes by the name Alec, although court documents refer to him by his legal name of Maya.

The affidavit highlights interviews with both suspects from the day of the shooting. Their accounts are similar, but vary on certain points. It says they used cocaine before the attack, targeted specific students, stole their guns from Erickson's parents and smuggled them into the school with a guitar case and backpacks.

Here's what Erickson said happened, according to the document:

He said he received a message on Snapchat the night before the shooting telling him not to go to school tomorrow. The Snapchat contact said they were “super suicidal” and wanted revenge on a lot of people. The individual was considering killing their mother and siblings as well.

The name is redacted but it appears to be describing McKinney.

Erickson told investigators he tried talking the friend out of their plans, but the friend threated to kill him if he told anyone. He spoke with his father after this conversation but did not raise concerns about the friend.

The next day, the morning of the shooting, he went to school but left twice. The first time he went home with a friend to let his dog out. He said his parents were not home. He returned to school to receive class attendance credit and left again, this time he says to call the police.

As he got home, he received a message from a person, whose name is again redacted but appears to be McKinney, asking him to pick them up from school.

He picked the individual up, took them to his house where they spent time in the basement. The friend was angry and used cocaine. Erickson denied using the drug at that time.

Later, he says the two went upstairs and the friend asked where his parents' safe was. Both knew it contained firearms. He showed the friend and attempted to leave the room but was again threated with his life, he told authorities. The friend then used an ax to break into the safe and allegedly forced him to help them.

The friend, according to Erickson, loaded ammunition into magazines obtained from the safe. They both loaded bags with firearms and ammunition and went back to the basement where they each consumed cocaine.

He helped the friend carry and load weapons into the car. The two drove back to school in a Honda Civic.

Erickson took his guitar case holding firearms to classroom 107. He told his teacher he was sick and was sent to the office. He said he intended to report the incident but had a panic attack and went to the bathroom until he composed himself.

When he returned to the office, the other suspect was waiting for him and again allegedly threatened to kill him and others if he said anything.

The two went to classroom 107 and split up, entering through two different doors. Erickson claims he walked straight toward someone, whose name is redacted, to warn them, but the individual wasn't paying attention and his friend was watching him.

He went back to the doorway, when he saw McKinney reach for a gun. He then grabbed a handgun from his guitar case, pointed it straight and yelled at everyone to get down.

Erickson said two students rushed him and hit him, and the gun went off in the skirmish. As they brought him down, he released his gun and began trying to warn others that his friend was also armed and planned to kill people. He heard more gunshots and described being in shock.

“Devon repeatedly claimed he was going to stop (redacted) but couldn't articulate how or why he never told an adult,” the affidavit says.

Erickson allowed detectives to search his phone, provided them security credentials and signed a waiver. Toward the end of his interview, “Devon was having difficulty describing how he tried stopping (redacted),” and he requested an attorney.

He was taken to Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, where he received medical clearance. There, he approached the detective who interviewed him and again and offered his cooperation.

McKinney was interviewed at the substation by a separate investigator.

Here's his account of the shooting, according to the affidavit:

McKinney was planning a school shooting for weeks and got Erickson involved in the plan. He “wanted kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he has had to in his life. He wanted everyone in that school to suffer and realize that the world is a bad place,” the affidavit says.

He said he targeted fellow students who made fun of him and called him disgusting for wanting to transition from female to male. He wanted to specifically kill kids who'd called him names and broken his laptop.

He confirmed speaking with Erickson by Snapchat the night before to discuss his plan and says he “trashed” the house looking for a key to the safe but instead found an ax and crowbar. He said he threatened Erickson with the ax, acting as if he was going to hit him with it.

He wrote in the closet where the safe was held “the voices win” and spray-painted Erickson's mother's car in the garage and then set it on fire. The fire burned out and they left.

He stated they knew they could get through the middle school entrance without being checked. He knew students he didn't like would be in in the classroom they targeted.

They entered the classroom from different doors. He said Erickson “pulled the magnetic strip” and shut the door to prevent from being opened from the outside. They each pulled out their guns and said, “Nobody move.”

McKinney believed Erickson fired the first shot and then he began firing.

McKinney emptied two guns, was confronted by students and a teacher but escaped and left the room. He planned to kill himself outside the school but didn't know how to work the third gun he obtained.

He was then confronted by the armed security guard at gunpoint and complied with the guard's orders to get on the ground.

He reported having suicidal and homicidal thoughts since he was 12 and more recently in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

The document sheds more light on what authorities came upon as they responded to the school that day.

Other students were holding Erickson down when police reached him in room 107 of the school. He was not armed at the time, but authorities found two handguns and a rifle in the room. The rifle was found in a guitar case.

One of the students detaining Erickson had a gunshot wound in his leg and another, who appeared to have a gunshot wounds to the torso, layed nearby unconscious.

There was not a school resource officer assigned to the school at the time of the shooting, A private security guard from BOSS High Level Protection covered the school. He is not identified by name in the affidavit, which alleges other officers reported he fired two rounds at Douglas County Sheriff's Office "Lt. Laurie Bronner," injuring a student. The guard told investigators he saw "a muzzle come around the corner."

Following the shooting, reports that the guard fired his weapon at other first responders and injured a student surfaced, leading 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler to forward an investigation into the allegations to the 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May.

A spokesperson for the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Colorado Springs said the office had no updates when asked if the investigation was on-going and if charges had been brought against the guard. The spokesperson did not know when a decision would be made.

 

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