DENVER (Reuters) – A juvenile accused of opening fire at a Colorado school last month that left one student dead and eight others wounded sought revenge on classmates who bullied him because he is transgender, court documents released on Thursday showed.
Alec McKinney, 16, told police he enlisted a second student, Devon Erickson, 18, to help him carry out the shooting at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Both teens are charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the May 7 rampage. Prosecutors have charged McKinney as an adult, but his lawyers are seeking to have his case moved to juvenile court.
Douglas County District Judge Theresa Slade had ordered the entire case file sealed until Thursday when she ruled that certain documents could be released.
The pair armed themselves with three handguns and a 22-caliber rifle taken from a gun safe belonging to Erickson’s parents, which they broke into with an ax and a crowbar. Both teens had consumed cocaine before the shootings, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
McKinney said he was born female and was in the “pre-op transitioning phase” and targeted one student who “called him names and said he was disgusting for trying to be a guy,” the affidavit said.
McKinney told police that he had planned the shooting for weeks and that he wanted other students to “experience bad things (and) to suffer from trauma like he has had to in his life,” the affidavit said.
McKinney admitted that he fired two handguns into a classroom until both firearms were empty, police said.
Erickson told police under questioning that two students rushed him when he appeared in the doorway of a classroom and that when one of the students hit him, the “abrupt impact” caused the handgun he was wielding to discharge.
“Devon described being in shock and stated that he didn’t want anyone to get shot,” the affidavit said.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, was shot dead after witnesses told police that he was among those who charged the gunman, but it is unclear who fired the fatal shot.
The documents also revealed that the school’s private security guard, who has not been publicly named, fired twice at a responding officer from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office when he saw the muzzle of a gun appear around a corner.
The officer was not hit by the gunfire, but a bullet fired by the security guard struck and wounded a female student in an adjoining classroom, the affidavit said.
Editing by Bill Tarrant and Jacqueline Wong