HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – The suspects in Tuesday’s fatal school shooting in Highlands Ranch are Devon Erickson, an 18-year-old male, and a juvenile female. Erickson appeared in court Wednesday afternoon and is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock spoke about the latest updates in the investigation in a news conference early Wednesday morning.
“Our hearts are hurting for (the victims), and I ask the community to come together, as we always do here in Douglas County, and be strong and pray for the family of the child that was lost and the other eight who were injured and still suffering from their injuries,” Spurlock said.
Student Kendrick Castillo, 18, was killed in the shooting and eight others were hurt at STEM School Highlands Ranch. The active shooting started after the suspects — both students at the K-12 charter school — entered through the middle school entrance just before 2 p.m.
They used two handguns to injure and kill fellow schoolmates. All those who were injured are 15 or older.
“We originally thought that we had a juvenile male in custody but through our interviews yesterday late afternoon determined that we had a juvenile female that is in custody right now who is the other suspect,” Spurlock said.
Deputies rushed in the school and arrested the two suspects and “did not exchange any gunfire with them,” according to Spurlock.
“We had officers on the street that were there inside 2 minutes. Once at the school they immediately engaged the suspects and started to rescue the children that were injured,” Spurlock said.
Students told CBS4 some students were involved in subduing the shooters before deputies got there. The United States Marine Corps confirmed that detail, sending out a statement saying “Brendan Bialy, a current poolee in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program (DEP), assisted in subduing” them.
“Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring. His decisive actions resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates,” the Marines wrote.
Three of the shooting victims remained in hospitals on Wednesday morning. Two are at Littleton Adventist Hospital with one in fair condition and the other in good condition. One injured at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree was expected to be released later Wednesday.
Students picked up their vehicles parked in the STEM School parking lot. Those vehicles were kept in place overnight. FBI agents were seen patrolling the parking lot and school.
STEM School Highlands Ranch will be closed for the rest of the week. A Crisis Support Center will be available for all STEM students, staff and families at the St. Andrew United Methodist Church at 9203 South University Boulevard in Highlands Ranch. Those services started up at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“A lot of people stepped up to this crisis to manage it competently and effectively,” Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday morning. “Everyone really came together and now it’s time for the community to come together.”
The school is located approximately 8 miles from Columbine High School in neighboring Jefferson County. That’s the site of one of the worst school shootings in history. In 1999, 12 students and a teacher were killed by the gunmen.
SPECIAL SECTION: Columbine Legacy
Since then, school shootings have taken place in Colorado in 2006 at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey (1 student killed), in 2010 at Deer Creek Middle School in Jefferson County (2 students wounded) and in 2013 at Arapahoe High School in Centennial (1 student killed).
PHOTO GALLERY: Shooting At STEM School Highlands Ranch
On Wednesday District Attorney George Brauchler lamented the fact that another school shooting has taken place in his jurisdiction.
“I grew up in these parts. And if you had suggested to anyone behind me or in this room that within 20 years and 20 miles we would have dealt with Columbine, the Aurora theater, Arapahoe High School, the shooting of Zack Parrish and four other deputies, we’d have thought you mad, and yet here we are again,” he said.
Deputies executed a search warrant at what is believed to be Erickson’s homes in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday and a car was towed away.
The FBI is currently involved in the investigation inside the school. Homeland Security agents are also helping Douglas County authorities with the shooting investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with the sheriff’s department to determine where the guns used in the shooting were purchased. Neither suspect is of legal age to own or purchase a handgun.