Devon Erickson, an 18-year-old high school student who has worked as a youth actor in Colorado, was identified by authorities as one of the two shooters accused of wounding nine students in a K-12 STEM school located in Douglas County. One of those students, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, died heroically in the attack after confronting one of the shooters.
In court for the first time on May 8, Erickson bowed his head, his purple hair dangling over his face. He’s facing more than two dozen charges. He shook his head to answer some of the judge’s questions. At one point, he answered “no” when asked whether he had questions. (Note: You can see a round up of heroes in mass shooting tragedies, including Highlands Ranch, here.)
The second accused shooter has now been identified as Alec McKinney. You can read about Alec here. Alec is identified in court records as Maya McKinney, but a Denver television station reports that McKinney is transgender and transitioning to male. The second suspect uses the name Alec McKinney on social media, so Heavy is using that name. The Denver Post confirmed the second suspect’s name. The judge didn’t allow video or photos in McKinney’s court hearing; Noelle Phillips of The Denver Post reported that McKinney’s lawyer said McKinney goes by Alec and uses the pronoun he. According to social media accounts reviewed by Heavy, McKinney had used expletives to refer to “STEM kids.”
One friend described the pair as struggling with “mental health issues.” The friend wrote on Instagram that Devon “did not do what he did because he’s liberal or to make a statement. He did it due to internal struggles. They’re both struggling with mental health issues and this is a time for awareness. Alec did not do this because he’s trans, but had people supported him in the way that he needed and deserved, he would not have struggled so much that he got pushed over the edge.”
The friend also wrote that the two suspects didn’t allegedly act because of hate for others but rather “hate in themselves” and called for more support for LGBT youth. She added that they did a “horrible thing.”
McKinney’s Twitter profile picture shows him with Erickson.
This is a very sad situation all around. I blame the parents/primary caregivers as much as anyone. If the other students were able to recognize the two perpetrators had mental health issues, why not the parents. Why did the parents not seek treatment for their children? My heart goes out to the family and friends of the "hero" student who gave his life that his teachers and other students might live. America needs more students like him!