DA Wants Focus Kept on Colorado School Shooting Victims

Officials guide students off a bus and into a recreation center where they were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (CN) – The two teenagers suspected of a carrying out a deadly shooting rampage at a Colorado school will remain behind bars after a judge denied them bond Wednesday afternoon.

Douglas County Judge Theresa Slade denied bond for 18-year-old Devon Erickson and a 16-year-old boy. Courthouse News has decided not to identify the juvenile at this time due to his age.

Slade also denied a defense request to conduct an investigation alongside police.

Formal charges will be filed Friday, and District Attorney George Brauchler said he will decide whether to try the 16-year-old as an adult after receiving input from victims’ families.

Brauchler also asked the court to seal the results of the investigation.

“I have been in the school,” said Brauchler, who also prosecuted the man convicted in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. “They all have a similar feel, it’s like life interrupted.”

Earlier Wednesday, Brauchler asked the community to focus on the victims rather than the identities of the two suspects.

District Attorney George Brauchler fields reporter questions May 8, 2019. (Amanda Pampuro / CNS)

“Let us move past focusing on the identity of the suspects and their images and focus instead on the innocent victims and on this crime and on the investigation itself,” said George Brauchler, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District.

In addition to asking for no-notoriety coverage of the suspects, Brauchler underscored his faith in the school district.

“These are abhorrent acts. Problem is when you get three, four, or five of them in a 20 miles radius you begin to think they’re less abhorrent. But I am here to tell you this is not who we are,” Brauchler said. “Our school district is awesome, our school district is safe, my kids are going to school today and I recommend everyone else send their kids too.”

Around 2 p.m. Tuesday, police received a call from STEM School in Highlands Ranch, a K-12 charter school located in a Denver suburb. Within two minutes, police were on campus. Officers engaged the suspects without firing a weapon, taking one adult male and one minor female into custody.

Armed with pistols, the shooters attacked nine of their classmates, killing 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo when he lunged at one of the suspects.

Five victims have been released from the hospital and three remain in intensive care.

Of the school’s 1,800 students, police consider about 600 to be witnesses.

Last month, Colorado marked the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School. Tuesday’s shooting is the fifth in the Denver metro area since the Columbine attack.

Lawmakers have responded over the years by requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, banning bump stocks, and most recently, approving Extreme Risk Protection Orders, to remove guns from at-risk individuals.

STEM School employed one armed security guard.

The school will remain closed through the weekend, although other schools in the district were open Wednesday. The school had scheduled its commencement ceremony for May 20.

Gov. Jared Polis ordered the flags on all state buildings to be flown at half-staff to honor victims of the shooting.

Erickson is represented by David Kaplan and Julie Stancil of Haddon Morgan & Foreman.

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