18-year-old suspect in STEM school shooting faces 30 counts, has first court appearance

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — The 18-year-old suspect in Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch is facing 30 counts: one count of first-degree murder after deliberation and 29 counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Devon Erickson made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon for an advisement of the charges. He sat with his head lowered and hair hiding his face.

The only word Erickson publicly said was, “No,” after the judge asked him if he understood the protection order against him, which said he could not contact victims, among other things.

He is being held without bond and is scheduled to return to court Friday afternoon for the formal filing of charges.

All court documents regarding the case have been sealed until at least Friday’s court appearance.

“(It’s a) big investigation…lot of people to interview,” said District Attorney George Brauchler, who prosecuted deadly shootings at the Aurora movie theater and Arapahoe High School.

“I wish I could tell you I have no familiarity with this kind of a conversation. And that would be false, tragically false,” Brauchler said.

Erickson and a juvenile, both students, are accused of going into the school and opening fire at two locations.

In court Wednesday, FOX31 and Channel 2 learned the juvenile suspect was born female, is transitioning to male and prefers to be referred to by a male name.

Cameras were not permitted to film the court appearance for the younger suspect.

Some of suspects’ and victims’ classmates were in court Wednesday.

“The main reason I wanted to be here was for the fact that, I was there,” Jack Denler, a junior at STEM School, told FOX 31. “It helps me process things…figure out what’s happening right now.”

Both suspects received protection orders forbidding them from contacting victims.

One 18-year-old student, Kendrick Castillo, was killed and eight other students were wounded in the shooting.

Classmates said Castillo lunged at one of the suspects, allowing other students to escape.

Students Brendan Bialy and Joshua Jones are also credited with helping subdue a shooter.

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