Colorado school shooting
The parents of 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo confirm that the high school senior was the student killed in Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
He died a hero: A witness in the classroom tells CNN that Castillo was shot while rushing a shooter and credited Castillo with saving several lives.
The armed private security guard hired to work at the STEM School was the first to confront one of the shooting suspects, according to Grant Whitus, COO of Boss High Level Protection, the company contracted to protect the school. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Tony Spurlock said the school does not have a school resource officer.
The security officer, is a former Marine now in his late 20’s or early 30’s Whitus said. He also worked as a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy for about three years, before transiting to the private sector.
Whitus said he spoke to the security officer last night about his well being, but not directly about the case, "he’s very anxious, he feels it was his responsibility to stop the whole thing and he couldn’t do it, but you have a school a half a city block long."
"He’s a very good guy," he added. "He’s wishing he could have done more.”
The officer was not injured.
Whitus said there was an alert on the intercom that security was needed in a certain area, and the officer ran right there and confronted one of the shooters as they were coming out of a room. The suspect had a gun in their hand when the security guard approached them. The officer drew his weapon and took the suspect into custody, and turned them over to deputies, Whitus said.
Whitus described his officer as "instrumental" in stopping the shooting, and said if he wasn't there, "countless lives would have been lost."
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said this morning that the STEM school does not have a resource officer, but it had hired an armed private security guard.
This armed private security officer was on campus at the time of the shooting, but he described the layout of the school as "extensive."
Spurlock said the two suspects entered through the northeast side of the campus, entering through the middle school. There are no metal detectors, he added.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Wednesday morning that “we are a resilient state,” noting numerous tragedies which have hit the area over the last 20 years, including Columbine shooting and the Aurora theater shooting.
District Attorney George Brauchler added that his area has been hit with tragedy before.
“If you had suggested to anyone behind me, or in this room, that in 20 years in 20 miles we would have dealt with Columbine, Aurora Theater, Arapahoe High School, the shooting of Zack Parrish and four other deputies, we’d have thought you mad, yet here we are again,” Brauchler said.
“This does not define us, it won’t today, and it won’t tomorrow. These are abhorrent acts. Problem is when you get 3, 4 or 5 of them within a 20-mile radius you begin to think they are less abhorrent. But I’m here to tell you, this is not who we are,” Brauchler said.
There is an 18-year old male suspect in custody as well as a juvenile female suspect, according to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock. On Tuesday, the Sheriff said they had a juvenile male in custody, but Spurlock corrected their gender during a press conference this morning.
The first appearance for the adult male is this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET Spurlock said.
Police thought they had two male shooters at first: The female juvenile suspect was believed to be a male at the time they were taken into custody, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. It wasn’t until the suspect was brought to the office that they were able to determine the suspect is a female. Spurlock said this is a small, young person and "the identity was not obvious to us."
Spurlock said it’s too early to determine a motive for the shooting.
The Sheriff confirmed two handguns were used in the shooting. No officers exchanged gunfire with the suspects, Spurlock added.
The ATF is working to determine where the two suspects obtained the guns used in the shooting.
Meanwhile, there are three students still in intensive care at hospitals, Spurlock said.
Douglas County will not release the name of the deceased student until the coroner confirms. They intend to release the name later this afternoon, Spurlock said.
About the school: Tuesday’s shooting happened just before 2pMT/5pET in the high school. The school is a ‘free, public charter school’ with 1,850 students in grades K-12, according to their website. The school will be closed for the remainder of the week, according to the Douglas County School District Superintendent.
One day after gunshots rang out at another Denver-area school, authorities are still sorting through what's known and what's not about the shooting, the gunmen and their motives.
We'll be following today's developments.
For the latest story detailing everything we know, click the link below:
The gunshots were audible as deputies ran toward the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Two suspects, believed to be students at the school, had made their way inside and were shooting inside two classrooms.
Within minutes, an 18-year-old male student was dead and eight students were wounded.
It was a scene disturbingly familiar for this suburban Denver community, which just marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in which two students opened fire on their classmates, killing 12 of them and a teacher.
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