A motive for Tuesday's violence at the STEM School Highlands Ranch is not yet known

By Chris Harris
May 08, 2019 09:58 AM
STEM School Highlands Ranch
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Colorado authorities announced the suspects in Tuesday’s mass shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch are an 18-year-old male student and a 17-year-old female student.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock identified the male suspect as 18-year-old Devon Erickson and did not reveal the name of the female suspect.

With the investigation in its early stages, Spurlock said he could release few details about the shooting that left one student dead and 8 others with gunshot wounds.

Five of the injured students have been released from the hospital. The other three remain in critical condition.

A motive for the violence is not yet known.

The first reports about the shooting were received by police at around 2 p.m. local time.

Spurlock did not speak specifically to what injuries the students sustained in the deadly Tuesday afternoon incident.

The name of the mortally wounded student, who was 18, has not been released by authorities.

Spurlock did confirm Wednesday morning the deceased victim was days from finishing his senior year, and was expected to graduate this month.

RELATED: One Student Dead and 7 Injured After 2 People Allegedly Open Fire at K-12 STEM School in Colorado

Spurlock said because the two suspected shooters were students at the school, they were able to “get deep inside” the school before beginning the attack.

The school doesn’t have metal detectors, he confirmed.

The two suspects, Spurlock said, were apprehended separately, in different parts of the school. They were both allegedly armed with handguns but did not exchange gunfire with the officers who detained them.

One of them, according to Spurlock, was being restrained by the school’s security officer when police took them into custody.

Devon Erickson
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Spurlock said one of the suspects’ cars has been seized and that investigators are analyzing the significance of a message that was left in spray paint on the vehicle: “F— Society.”

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He added it will likely take detectives and FBI agents two more days to process the “extensive” crime scene, and estimated there are at least 600 more students left to be interviewed in the investigation.

At the press conference, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis spoke, calling Tuesday’s shooting “a vicious act of violence.”

Douglas County District Attorney George Brauchler said his office has yet to decide if the female suspect will be charged as an adult.

Charges will be filed this morning against Erickson, Brauchler explained, before he is due in court for an advisement hearing later this afternoon.

According to Spurlock, stories of heroism in the face of danger are likely to emerge from the school in the coming days.

“We are going to hear about heroic things that took place,” Spurlock said, confirming at least one student was shot as he “encountered” one of the suspects.

It was unclear Wednesday if Erickson had retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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