Colorado shooter says he targeted kids over gender taunts

DENVER (AP) — A high school student charged in a classmate's death during a Colorado school shooting told police that he planned the attack for weeks and intended to target classmates who repeatedly mocked his gender identity.

Written summaries of police interviews with the two suspected shooters portray 16-year-old Alec McKinney as the leader of the attack, enlisting 18-year-old Devon Erickson in the plan to kill the students who bullied McKinney, who identifies as male.

Both teenagers told police that they broke into a gun safe at one of the teenager's homes before walking into the STEM School Highlands Ranch on the afternoon of May 7 with a guitar case and a backpack concealing four guns.

McKinney "said he wanted the kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he had had to in his life," the document said. "He wanted everyone in that school to suffer and realize that the world is a bad place."

Both teenagers are charged with murder and attempted murder in the shooting.

Prosecutors charged McKinney as an adult; his attorneys have said they plan to ask a judge to move the case back to juvenile court. Neither has entered a plea yet, and their attorneys opposed the unsealing of records associated with the criminal cases.

The document also revealed that a hired school security guard responding to the gunfire accidentally shot a female student. According to the record, several officers reported that the guard fired twice at a Douglas County Sheriff's lieutenant.

The guard said he saw "a muzzle" come around a corner. The record said one of the guard's shots wounded a female student inside a classroom.

The document also said the guard caught one of the suspected shooters in a hallway.

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FILE - In this May 8, 2019 file photo, Devon Erickson, the accused STEM School Highlands Ranch shooter, appears at the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colo. Prosecutors are expected to file charges Wednesday morning, May 15, against the suspects, Erickson, and 16-year-old Alec McKinney, who are accused of killing student Kendrick Castillo and wounding eight other classmates at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7. The memorial service for Castillo who is hailed as a hero for tackling one of the gunmen is set for Wednesday afternoon. (Joe Amon/The Denver Post via AP, Pool, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, May 7, 2019 file photo, parents head into a recreation center for students to get reunited with their parents after a shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Both suspects in the suburban Denver school shooting are due back in court Friday, May 10, as prosecutors file charges in the violent attack that killed a student and wounded multiple others. Authorities have identified the suspects as 18-year-old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Maya McKinney, whose attorney said uses male pronouns and the name Alec. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, May 7, 2019 file photo, police officers and students are seen outside STEM School Highlands Ranch, a charter middle school in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, Colo., after a shooting. Both suspects in the suburban Denver school shooting are due back in court Friday, May 10, as prosecutors file charges in the violent attack that killed a student and wounded multiple others. Authorities have identified the suspects as 18-year-old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Maya McKinney, whose attorney said uses male pronouns and the name Alec. (Courtney Harper via AP, File)
CASTLE ROCK, CO - MAY 15: District Attorney George Brauchler addresses the media after STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect's 18 year old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney facing criminal charges made court appearance's at the Douglas County Courthouse May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colorado. (Pool photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CASTLE ROCK, CO - MAY 15: Leaving the court room after STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect's 18 year old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney facing criminal charges make separate court appearance's at the Douglas County Courthouse 15, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Pool photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Devon Erickson appears in court at the Douglas County Courthouse on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colo. Erickson is one of two students suspected of shooting several classmates in their Colorado charter school. (Joe Amon/The Denver Post via AP, Pool)
Devon Erickson, center, appears in court at the Douglas County Courthouse on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colo. Erickson is one of two students suspected of shooting several classmates in their Colorado charter school. (Joe Amon/The Denver Post via AP, Pool)
File - In this May 15, 2019, file photo, STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect Devon Erickson makes a court appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colo. Erickson, one of two students charged in a Colorado school shooting that killed one student and injured eight others, will have his next court hearing in September. A preliminary hearing for the 18-year-old was set for Sept. 24-26 by a judge during a brief court appearance on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Joe Amon/The Denver Post via AP, Pool, File)
CASTLE ROCK, CO - MAY 15: Devon Erickson makes a court appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colorado. (Pool photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CASTLE ROCK, CO - MAY 15: District Attorney George Brauchler as STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect 18 year old Devon Erickson, facing 48 criminal charges makes a court appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colorado. (Pool photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Pallbearers watch the hearse leave after loading the coffin of shooting victim Kendrick Castillo of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School after his memorial service in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A Jeep that was part of a convoy for the memorial service of the shooting victim Kendrick Castillo of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO - MAY 15: Gianna Carpinelli, 13, left, and her mother Haley, right, hold up flags and a sign as they watch a procession pass by along Grace Blvd on the way to Cherry Hills Community Church for a Celebration of Life service for shooting victim and hero Kendrick Castillo on May 15, 2019 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Two gunman stormed the STEM school last week where Castillo was a student. Castillo with the aid of two friends took one of the gunman down before being shot and killed. 8 other students were injured in the attack. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO - MAY 15: A girl wipes away tears after Kendrick Castillo's casket was moved into Cherry Hills Community Church for a celebration of life ceremony on May 15, 2019 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Castillo was killed after tackling one of the gunmen during the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting on May 7. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 8: STEM student Brendan Bialy, 18, poses for a portrait at his attorney's offices on May 8, 2019 in Englewood, Colorado. Bialy, in a heroic act, helped subdue one of the the shooters in the shooting incident at STEM school in Highlands Ranch. Bialy doesn't want to be remembered for his heroic actions but wants the public to remember Kendrick Castillo, his good friend he has known since 8th grade, who died when he lunged at the shooter enabling students to have time to hide thereby saving their lives. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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Robert Burk, attorney for the unnamed guard, said Thursday that he had not seen the document and could not comment.

A judge sealed both court records after Erickson and McKinney made their initial court appearances, preventing police or prosecutors from discussing almost anything about the case.

The document released Thursday provides the clearest timeline of the attack.

During a police interview, Erickson told police that McKinney sent him a Snapchat message on the night of May 6 telling him not to go to school the next day because McKinney wanted to get revenge "on a lot of people." McKinney identifies as male and told police that classmates called him "disgusting," made fun of him and repeatedly referred to him "as a she."

On May 7, they left school and went to Erickson's house during lunch. McKinney told police he threatened Erickson with an ax to get him to help open a gun safe using the ax and a crowbar.

They told police they found four weapons inside — three handguns and a rifle. After loading the guns, they put the weapons inside a guitar case and a backpack. Erickson said they both used cocaine while at the house.

They drove back to the school and walked through the middle school entrance where McKinney "knew they would not be checked," according to the report.

They targeted classroom 107 and Erickson told police he entered alone first, dropping off the guitar case. Erickson said he left the room briefly and intended to tell an adult but found McKinney waiting for him.

They went back to the classroom and entered through separate doors.

Their accounts of what happened inside the room differ.

Erickson said he saw McKinney reach for a gun then decided to shout for everyone to get down. Erickson said he saw two students rush toward him and said their impact "prompted the gun to go off."

"While he was on the ground, he heard more gunshots and yelling and screaming," the record said. "Devon described being in shock and stated he didn't want anyone to get shot."

McKinney told police they entered the room simultaneously, yelling "nobody move," and he fired after hearing Erickson shoot.

McKinney "said he shot the revolver until it was empty and then shot the Glock until it was empty" before being tackled by students and a teacher. McKinney said he escaped and ran, intending to kill himself with the remaining weapon but surrendered to an armed security guard in the hallway.

The document, which blacked out all students' names, says at least 29 people were in the room at the time of the shooting. Three students have previously been credited with tackling one of the shooters, including 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who was killed.

Erickson portrayed McKinney as a mastermind and told police repeatedly that that he wanted to stop his friend. Police wrote in the document that Erickson "couldn't articulate how or why he never told an adult."

McKinney suggested that Erickson became an active participant by loading the guns, locking the door of the classroom they targeted and firing the first shot, according to the record.

Prosecutors filed the same charges against both teenagers.

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