Student found guilty over Colorado school shooting that left one dead and eight injured

·2 min read
File: Devon Erickson, 18, accused of taking part in a deadly school shooting, appears at the Douglas County Courthouse where he faces murder and attempted murder charges, in Castle Rock, Colorado (Reuters)
File: Devon Erickson, 18, accused of taking part in a deadly school shooting, appears at the Douglas County Courthouse where he faces murder and attempted murder charges, in Castle Rock, Colorado (Reuters)

A jury in Colorado convicted Devon Erickson for his role in the deadly 2019 shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch that killed one person and injured eight.

Erickson, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, was held guilty for the murder of Kendrick Castillo, the only person to have died during the shooting.

Castillo was the first person to have lunged at Erickson in an effort to disarm him when he entered their classroom with a gun, according to multiple media reports. He was fatally shot and several other students injured, as they rushed to overpower the shooter, reported the Colorado Community Media.

Apart from two counts of murder, the jury found Erickson guilty of over 40 criminal charges, including attempted murder and conspiracy.

His sentence hearing is due on 17 September. Since Erickson was an adult at the time of committing the crime, he faces a mandatory life sentence in prison without parole for his murder conviction.

“We’ve had tears of sorrow. We’ve had anger over a couple of years,” Kendrick’s father, John Castillo was quoted as saying by 9 News. “Today, we have tears of joy. As we heard those read off, for every person, it was a release. It was truly a blessing to hear that justice was served.”

Alec McKinney, another person who was held guilty last year for his role in the school shooting, also testified against Erickson in the court saying that they planned the shooting for weeks before executing it, reported 9 News. They intended to specifically target room 107, said McKinney, who was 16 at the time of the shooting.

Erickson pulled the trigger at least four times, hitting three students, while McKinney shot nine bullets that left four injured, reported the Colorado Community Media.

The defence counsel for Erickson, David Kaplan, however, alleged during the hearing that his client was “manipulated” by McKinney into joining the shooting. Chief deputy district attorney George Brauchler argued that there was “zero evidence” to suggest coercion.

At the time of the verdict, Erickson, dressed in a suit and tie, was nearly motionless staring ahead and blinking, reported the Associated Press.

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