Sheriff: Students used at least 2 handguns in Highlands Ranch school shooting

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- The two students accused of killing a classmate and wounding eight others in a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch used at least two handguns in the attack on Tuesday afternoon, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Wednesday.

At an early-morning news conference, Spurlock said the suspects, an 18-year-old man and a juvenile female, had a "number of weapons" in the shooting.

He said the suspects were not old enough to buy or own the handguns. The 18-year-old is expected to appear in a Douglas County courtroom on Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the juvenile arrested was a male, but the suspect is actually a girl. Her name and age were not released.

Spurlock said her identity wasn't apparent to deputies until she was brought into custody.

“This does not define us. It won’t today and it won’t tomorrow,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said, saying the latest shooting was an “aberrant” act.

“Our hearts are hurting for them,” Gov. Jared Polis said.

The suspects walked into the school and opened fire on students in two classrooms, Spurlock said.

The Douglas County Coroner's Office identified the student who died as 18-year-old Kendrick Ray Castillo, a senior at the school who was scheduled to graduate later this month.

Brendan Bialy, a senior who plans to join the Marines after graduation, helped in subduing one of the shooters, the U.S. Marines Corps said Wednesday.

Spurlock said "we're going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school."

Deputies at a nearby sheriff's office substation got to the school within minutes of gunfire erupting. The suspects were detained without deputies exchanging gunfire.

One of the suspects was detained by the school's security guard, Spurlock said.

Of the eight students who were wounded, five have been released from hospitals.

At Littleton Adventist Hospital, one patient is in serious condition, another is in fair condition and three were discharged Tuesday.

Two patients were taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center. One was released Tuesday and the other is in stable condition.

One patient was taken to Children's Hospital Colorado and has been released.

Spurlock said the school will continue to be an active crime scene and the investigation is expected to take another two days. The school will be closed through at least Friday.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the investigation. Officials are trying to determine how the suspects were able to obtain the handguns used in the shooting.

"Our hearts are  hurting," Spurlock said. "I ask the community to come together as we always do in Douglas County, to be strong and pray for the family of the child that was lost and the other eight that are injured and still suffering."

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