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1 Student Killed, 8 Injured In Colorado School Shooting

Parents hug as they wait to be reunited with their children after a shooting at a suburban Denver school.
David Zalubowski
/
AP
Parents hug as they wait to be reunited with their children after a shooting at a suburban Denver school.

Updated May 8 at 1:15 a.m. ET

Officials say one student is dead and eight students were injured in a shooting at a public charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., a suburb south of Denver.

In a tweet, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the deceased was an 18-year-old student at the STEM School.

"It is with extreme sadness that we can confirm that 1 student at the STEM School was killed in today's #stemshooting incident. The immediate family has been notified. Douglas County Coroner Jill Romann (who) has not officially identified the student is stating it's an 18 year old male," the tweet said.

No information was available about the other victims.

Two suspects are currently in custody. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said one suspect is an adult male and the other is a juvenile male. Both are students at the STEM School, and were not previously known to local law enforcement.

The adult suspect was identified as Devon Erickson, 18. The sheriff's office did not release photos of the suspect, saying that it could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.

"This is a terrible event. This is something that no one wants to have happen in their community," Spurlock said in a press conference late Tuesday afternoon. "Two individuals walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations."

"We do have eight students in area hospitals right now. Several of them are in critical condition," he added.

All of the victims are 15 years and older.

The STEM School has 1,800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Authorities said over Twitter that they responded to a "call of shots fired" at STEM Schools Highlands Ranch at 1:53 p.m. MT. They initially described the situation as unstable and were directing parents to pick up their children at a nearby staging area.

Spurlock said the first officers reached the school two minutes after receiving reports of shots fired at the school. He said he believed their quick response "saved lives."

He offered no information on any possible motivation for the attack nor the suspects' methodology. A handgun was recovered, but Spurlock released no other information about weapons.

The FBI is processing the crime scene. Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Department of Homeland Security are also assisting the investigation.

Earlier, the Douglas County School District announced all schools was on lock down and canceled all after-school activities.

White House spokesman Judd Deere released the following statement on the shooting: "Our prayers are with the victims, family members, and all those affected by today's shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Littleton, Colorado. Tragically, this community and those surrounding it know all too well these hateful and horrible acts of violence. The White House has been in communication with state and local officials, and the President has been briefed and continues to monitor the ongoing situation. We offer our full support to local law enforcement and first responders and thank them for their heroism."

This is a breaking news story. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.