HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) — UPDATE at 9:40 p.m. — Authorities have released the name of an 18-year-old student accused of opening fire with a classmate inside a charter school in an affluent suburb of Denver, killing a teenager and wounding eight others.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed late Tuesday that Devon Erickson was taken into custody after the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch. The other suspect is a juvenile whose name has not been released.
Sheriff Tony Spurlock says the gunmen were both students at the school and that he had no information about whether anyone was targeted. At least a handgun was recovered, but Spurlock didn’t release additional information about other weapons.
The public charter school has more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through 12th grades.
Gunfire erupted Tuesday inside a suburban Denver middle school not far from Columbine High School, wounding at least seven people before two suspects were taken into custody, authorities said.
Douglas County Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth said she did not believe there were any other shooters, but tactical teams were still conducting a room-by-room search of the building. She did not know if there were fatalities or offer any details about the wounded.
The shooting occurred at the middle school at STEM School Highlands Ranch, a public charter school with more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through 12th grades. The Highlands Ranch community is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Denver.
Deputies responded around 1:50 p.m. to the school, which is near a sheriff’s department substation, and officers got there almost immediately, Nicholson-Kluth said.
“As officers were arriving at the school, they could still hear gunshots,” she said.
Rocco DeChalk, who lives near the school, told television station KUSA that he saw so many students running past his house that at first he thought it was a gym class. He went outside and saw a teenage boy who had been shot in the back being helped by a teacher and another student.
They brought the boy into his kitchen and alerted a police officer, who sent for an ambulance.
“He made a comment, ‘Oh, I’m starting to feel it now,’” DeChalk said. “I told him that was probably the adrenaline kicking in and he was going into shock.”
Lines of firetrucks, ambulances and law enforcement vehicles from multiple agencies were at the school, and medical helicopters landed on a grassy field.