Credit: Screen grab

Colorado Shooting Suspects to Be Charged as Adults – Could Face Death Penalty

“They immediately engaged the suspects and started rescuing the children who were injured.”

Devon Erickson and Alec McKinney, the two suspects in a May 7 shooting at Stem School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, will be charged as adults and face 48 charges, ABC affiliate Denver7 reported.

The charges include first-degree murder and attempted murder. In Colorado, first-degree murder is punishable by at a minimum, life in prison, and at a maximum by the death penalty.

Erickson, 18, and McKinney, 16, appeared in court Wednesday morning for a hearing on formal charges related to the shooting that claimed the lives of one student and injured eight others.

McKinney and Erickson face nearly identical charges. However, while Erickson is charged with providing a handgun to a juvenile, McKinney is charged with possession of a handgun by a juvenile.

Other charges include one count each of third-degree burglary, 25 counts each of attempted first-degree murder after deliberation with extreme indifference and one count each of second-degree arson with damage totaling $100 or more.

Erickson is due back in court for a status hearing on June 7.

Amid public outcry over the shooting and accusations that partisans are attempting to politicize the tragedy, details continue to emerge about the incident.

Authorities now believe the guns used in the STEM shooting were stolen from a locked gun cabinet owned by the parents of 18-year-old suspect Devon Erickson, according to Denver7.

A high-ranking source with knowledge of the investigation told Denver7 that Erickson and a second suspect smashed into the cabinet on the morning of the shooting. CNN reported Tuesday that a law enforcement source said the guns were stolen from Erickson’s parents and that they were purchased legally.

McKinney, a biological female, is reportedly undergoing a female to male transition and identifies as male.

During a court appearance last week, lawyers for McKinney asked that their client’s preferred pronouns be respected and that McKinney be referred to as “he.”

According to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, two handguns were used in the shooting, and police also recovered a rifle. Spurlock said that police responded to the shooting in under two minutes.

“They immediately engaged the suspects and started rescuing the children who were injured,” Spurlock said.

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Local news outlets reported that Erickson does not have a criminal record. However, the young man has a well-documented record of anti-conservative activism on social media.

Erickson, a registered Democrat who expressed support for LGBT rights, said on Facebook in 2014 that he hated Christians for their beliefs about homosexuality.

Cover image: Devon Erickson (Screen grab)

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