Prosecutors get more time to file Highlands Ranch school shooting charges
DENVER (AP) — Prosecutors leading the case against two students suspected of shooting nine classmates, one fatally, in a suburban Denver charter school have until next week to decide what charges to pursue, a judge ruled Friday.
The decision by District Judge Theresa Slade delays hearings that had been scheduled for Friday for Devon Erickson, 18, and 16-year-old Alec McKinney, who is listed in court documents as Maya, to learn the criminal charges they face in the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday.
Court spokesman Rob McCallum said that both the prosecutors and defense agreed to postpone the hearing until Wednesday.
Vicki Migoya, a spokeswoman for District Attorney George Brauchler, said the office could not explain the reason for the delay.
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A motion to continue the hearings until next week is under seal along with the entire file in both cases. In an initial court appearance on Wednesday, Brauchler asked to wait until Monday to file charges so that authorities would have the weekend to make progress on their investigation.
The latest delay gives prosecutors more time to decide whether to charge McKinney as an adult. Colorado law permits prosecutors to file adult charges of serious felonies against 16- and 17-year-olds without prior approval from a judge.
Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old senior killed during the shooting, and two classmates at the school have been credited with helping thwart the attack by charging at one of the shooters when he entered a classroom. Authorities have said an armed private security guard restrained the second shooter.
Erickson and McKinney have been in jail since Tuesday on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.
The two students walked into their school with handguns and opened fire in two classrooms, authorities said. Investigators have offered no motive and refused to discuss how the students obtained the weapons.
Student Joshua Jones told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that he, Castillo and Brendan Bialy reacted as soon as they saw the gun.
“We rushed him,” Jones said. “Kendrick pushed him against the wall. Me and Brendan grabbed him and threw him to the ground. I stayed on top of him while Brendan went off and tried to help Kendrick.”
Jones said he never specifically thought how he would react in such a situation.
“When it actually happened, I had to make that decision that nobody should really ever have to make, which was run towards a gunman or run away from them. I chose to run towards them,” he said.
The attack unfolded nearly three weeks after neighboring Littleton marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine attack that killed 13 people. The two schools are separated by about 7 miles south of Denver.
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From cocaine and methamphetamine drugs busts to locating armed and dangerous suspects, K9s with the Garfield County Sheriff’s office routinely find themselves in life or death situations.