Family of girl slain by gunman at Colorado school backs authorities |

Family of girl slain by gunman at Colorado school backs authorities

Associated Press Writer
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

DENVER (AP) ” The family of a girl who was fatally shot at her high school by a 53-year-old drifter have endorsed the way authorities handled the standoff, saying “the best people did the best of things.”

Emily Keyes, 16, was shot at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, 40 miles southwest of Denver, last September. After her parents and twin brother were briefed on an investigative report set to be released later Tuesday, they issued a statement backing authorities’ actions that day.

“The outcome could have been far more grave. We as a family know this and appreciate this. Real life doesn’t always have a happy ending,” they said.

John-Michael Keyes, Emily’s father, declined to elaborate on the statement he released with his wife, Ellen, and son, Casey.

Investigators said Duane Morrison walked into Platte Canyon High School on Sept. 27 and barricaded himself, Emily and five other girls in a classroom.

He molested or sexually assaulted the girls before fatally shooting Emily as officers stormed the room, Sheriff Fred Wegener has said. Morrison then shot himself to death, although officers were firing at him as well, investigators said.

Earlier in the standoff, Morrison had released four of the girls before breaking off negotiations and setting a deadline when he said “something would happen.”

About 30 minutes before the deadline, a SWAT team blasted the door off its hinges with explosives and charged into the room. One girl escaped. Morrison fired at the officers, shot Emily as she tried to run, then shot himself once, investigators said.

Authorities have said school surveillance tapes showed Morrison’s yellow Jeep in the parking lot of the school the day before as well as the day of the shooting.

Park County Attorney Steve Groome said it was coincidence that the investigative report by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation was to be released six months to the day after the attack. He said it was available last week but was not released until Wegener could brief the families of the victims, as he had promised.

Groome said no details of the sexual assaults on the girls would be released because of state privacy laws.

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