Alec McKinney, one of the two students charged with perpetrating a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado last month, allegedly told police that he targeted students who mocked his gender identity, according to court documents released Thursday.
McKinney, 16, identifies as male but was born female and is legally named Maya. Authorities believe McKinney aided 18-year-old Devon Erickson, a fellow STEM School classmate, in committing the May 7 shooting that left one student dead and eight injured. The two are charged with more than 40 counts, including murder and attempted murder.
He admitted to targeting students and told police that STEM School classmates “called him names and said he was disgusting for trying to be a guy,” NBC News reported. McKinney also said students intentionally refused to use his pronouns, referring to him as a “she.”
According to court documents, McKinney, not Erickson, was the mastermind behind the shooting. He admitted to being the one who planned the attack and “said he wanted the kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he has had to in his life.” McKinney told police “he wanted everyone in that school to suffer and realize that the world is a bad place.”
McKinney admitted to persuading Erickson to go along with the plan. Erickson told police that McKinney was suicidal the night before the shooting and said he wanted revenge.
Erickson also said McKinney threatened him into taking cocaine on the day of the attack, according to court documents.
Both suspects will be charged as adults.
Alec McKinney and gender identity
In the eyes of many spectators, the STEM School shooting has taken on ideological and partisan dimensions. Some have attempted to frame the attack in terms of the debate over gun control. While others have focused on the suspects’ political leanings.
Still others have brought the shooting into the ongoing conversation over transgender ideology.
During a court appearance in May, lawyers for McKinney asked that their client’s preferred pronouns be respected and that McKinney be referred to as “he.”
Disability justice advocate Lydia X.Z. Brown echoed the McKinney legal team’s sentiments on Twitter, urging journalists not to “deadname” the suspect.
* There is zero reason to publish a trans person's deadname. Especially a minor's deadname.
* This dude is a murderous asshole. Neither being trans nor having psych disabilities made him an asshole.
— Lydia X. Z. Brown (@autistichoya) May 9, 2019