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Colorado Authorities Probe School Shooting Not Far From Columbine

May 8, 2019
Originally published on May 8, 2019 12:18 pm
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All right. In Colorado today, authorities are investigating a school shooting. One student is dead and eight others were injured. The shooting happened at a public charter school called the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Now, that's in a suburb south of Denver, Colo., and it's just a couple miles away from Columbine High School.

Colorado Public Radio's John Daley is on the line. John, we appreciate you being here. What's the latest?

JOHN DALEY, BYLINE: The Douglas County Sheriff's Office confirmed late yesterday that one student, an 18-year-old male, was killed in the shooting at the STEM school. It's a public K-12 charter school with more than 1,800 students. Police say the family has been notified. There are two male suspects. They've identified one as 18-year-old Devon Erickson. The other is a juvenile. His name has not yet been released. Both are in custody. No names of the deceased or the injured have been released. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock says they believe both suspects are students of the STEM school and are uninjured. He said a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects was at the school, and police would get warrants to search it and the suspect's homes.

MARTIN: It was notable in the reporting around this incident that the police got there very quickly after hearing reports of gunshots.

DALEY: That's right. Sheriff Spurlock said a little before 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the pair of suspects walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school. The situation started in an adjacent middle school and was reported by a school administrator. Spurlock told reporters police from a nearby substation rushed in to the school within, like, two minutes after receiving word of shots fired, and they soon took the suspects into custody.

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TONY SPURLOCK: I have to believe that the quick response of the officers that got inside that school helped save lives.

DALEY: Eight students were shot and taken to area hospitals. One - that 18-year-old I mentioned died as of last night. Two were listed in serious condition, two as stable, and four were released.

MARTIN: I mean, obviously, authorities, officials are still investigating. They have a lot of work to do. But do we know anything about the motivation of the suspected shooters or anything indeed about the weapons involved?

DALEY: Very little. The sheriff gave no information on a possible motivation for the attack. He said a handgun was recovered but gave no other information about other weapons.

MARTIN: So we imagine that they'll be looking in the days to come. John, let me ask you something. We mentioned that this school is not that far from Columbine High School, which, of course, saw its own tragedy 20 years ago - a mass shooting in a school. How are students and parents there doing?

DALEY: Well, you know, unfortunately, Colorado has been through this before. It's nearly three weeks after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school massacre that killed 13 people. That happened about seven miles away from where this was. And, you know, the parents and students were really shook up. There were a lot of tears at the scene. Parents rushed to a nearby rec center which was set up as a reunification site. They were parking cars on the side of the road and jumping out to run inside. There were school buses that were dropping kids off at the rec center and that was going on into early in the evening.

An eighth-grader named Karthik Selva says he heard students yelling and the school went on a lockdown.

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KARTHIK SELVA: After that, we heard gunshots. And soon after all that stopped, there was banging on the door and it was the police, so they got in, and they got us to safety.

DALEY: And we talked to a dad whose son had been shot. He was waiting for his daughter, who's a seventh-grader, and he described it as stressful and pretty hard. And he said something, like, nobody deserves this, no matter who you are.

MARTIN: Reporter John Daley speaking to us from Denver, Colo., after a school shooting outside the city yesterday. John, thank you for your time.

DALEY: You bet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.