One of the two students who opened fire on a school in Denver has been identified as 18-year-old Devon Erickson.
One 18-year-old boy was killed and seven other students were injured when gunfire erupted at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday afternoon at 1.53pm local time.
Police confirmed that the shooting was carried out by two shooters, one adult male and one juvenile, the former who was named by sources familiar with the investigation as Erickson.
Officials are expected to release more information at a press conference at 6am Wednesday morning.
Devon Erickson, 18, has been identified by local media as one of the two suspects who allegedly opened fire on STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado on Tuesday afternoon
Terrified students were evacuated from the school after shots were fired at 1.53pm
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said shots were fired in two separate locations in the high school section of the campus, which serves grades kindergarten through 12th.
Administrators reported the gunfire immediately and deputies arrived on the scene within two minutes.
Spurlock said officers engaged the suspects and there was a struggle to bring them down. Neither suspect was injured in the confrontation.
Authorities recovered three handguns and a rifle but said the latter was not used in the shooting.
Before officers arrived, one heroic student, Brendan Bialy, allegedly tackled one of the gunmen.
Bialy’s father told the New York Times that ‘two students entered the classroom and one pulled a gun out of a guitar case’.
He said ‘his son and two friends tried to tackle the gunman but one of the boys was shot in the chest’, according to the Times.
That account was corroborated by the father of one of the teenagers who was shot.
Fernando Montoya told The Denver Channel his son, who was shot three times but is expected to survive, told him a shooter produced a gun from a guitar case.
Fernando Montoya (left) said his son was shot three times but is expected to survive
Authorities were seen outside a home believed to be owned by Erickson’s parents
Authorities were seen outside a home in Highland Springs believed to be owned by Erickson’s parents, James and Stephanie. The mother’s Facebook page was deleted shortly after news broke of the shooting.
A reporter for 9News, Katie Eastman, tweeted a photo of the home and wrote: ‘A neighbor confirmed to me that Devon lived here in this blue house on Mountain Maple Avenue in Littleton. Called him a “great kid from a great family”.’
A car spray painted with the words ‘f*** society’ was towed away from the house at around 10pm.
A criminal background check revealed Erickson’s almost unblemished record, which noted a ticket for careless driving issued in Douglas County on February 13, 2018.
Erickson is seen playing guitar in a video shared on his YouTube channel. Witnesses reported that one of the gunmen pulled a firearm out of a guitar case
The teen’s social media pages indicate that he is an avid guitar player, youth theater actor and registered Democrat who has on occasion expressed disdain for Christians, criticized President Donald Trump and praised former President Barack Obama.
In a post from 2014, Erickson wrote: ‘You know what I hate? All these Christians who hate gays, yet in the bible, it says in Deuteronomy 17:12-13, if someone doesn’t do what their priest tells them to do, they are supposed to die. It has plenty of crazy stuff like that. But all they get out of it is “ewwwwww gays”.’
Erickson also has a YouTube channel where he posted videos of himself playing the guitar.
His Snapchat account is reportedly under the name ‘devonkills’.
In one Instagram post obtained by Heavy.com, Erickson wrote: ‘I’m covered in ink and addicted to pain.’
In another from 2018 he said: ‘I’m only posting one of my senior pictures so people don’t think I dropped out since I don’t take classes at stem anymore.’
The Denver Channel reported that the second suspect, who is a minor, was in the process of transitioning from female to male.
Multiple sources told the outlet that the motive of the alleged shooters went beyond bullying and involved revenge and anger towards their classmates.
They said at least one of the suspects was involved in legal and illegal drug use and had been in therapy.
A teacher embraces young students in a parking lot near the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado on Tuesday after a shooter opened fire
Parents embrace their children as they are reunited at a recreation center near the school
Students and teachers hold their hands in the air as they exit the scene of the shooting
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Twitter that one of the eight victims, an 18-year-old boy, had died about two hours after the shooting.
Local media outlets previously reported that five victims were taken to Littleton Adventist hospital, where four are in serious condition and one is in fair condition.
Another two patients, both juveniles, were reportedly transported to Sky Ridge hospital where they are both in stable condition.
An eighth victim is said to be in good condition at Children’s Colorado hospital.
It is not known which of these victims died.
Spurlock declined to identify any of the students by name but said they were all aged 15 or older.
He said the families of seven victims were in contact with authorities, who have yet to make contact with the eighth victim.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock would not identify the names of the suspects as the investigation is ongoing but said they are both believed to be students at the school
A massive police presence descended on the school minutes after shots were fired at 1.53pm
Parents pick up their children from the Recreation Center at Northridge in Highlands Ranch after the shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday
Elementary school children were seen walking out of the school with their hands in the air as authorities started evacuating the scene.
Frantic parents have told how their children sent them texts and called them to tell them that shots had been fired.
The more than 1,800 students who attend the STEM school are being connected with their parents at reunification centers.
There was no school resource officer at the scene when the suspects opened fire, but there was private security present.
Witnesses say one victim was seen being carried out by a cop on their shoulder. Another was seen being taken out on a stretcher, according to a witness.
An air ambulance is shown arriving at the scene of an active shooting at the STEM school in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday
Hundreds of people took to Twitter after news of the shooting broke to express their horror that yet another American school had been targeted.
The shooting is the 43rd incident of gunfire reported on a school campus so far in 2019 and the 116th mass shooting overall this year.
The STEM campus is located just seven miles from Columbine High School, where 13 people were killed and more than 20 were injured on April 20, 1999 – just over 20 years ago.
One student at a nearby high school tweeted: ‘Being a student in Colorado is terrifying. Threats, secure permitters, lockdowns, missing school because of credible threats, and now another school shooting. I’m tired. What is the government doing to help us? My death is inevitable. Please talk about this.’
Another user tweeted: ’20 years later, 7 miles from Columbine, and 0 actions taken in Washington to protect kids from gun violence.’
The White House issued the following statement about the shooting: ‘Our prayers are with the victims, family members, and all those affected by today’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Littleton, Colorado. Tragically, this community and those surrounding it know all too well these hateful and horrible acts of violence.
‘The White House has been in communication with state and local officials, and the President has been briefed and continues to monitor the ongoing situation. We offer our full support to local law enforcement and first responders and thank them for their heroism.’