Mothers of STEM shooting survivors cry during hearing in Douglas County

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Two mothers of STEM school shooting survivors took the stand in a Douglas County court hearing Friday, as a judge determines whether defendant Alec McKinney should be tried as an adult or as a juvenile.

“I have a hard time focusing at work,” said Yuritizia Ojeda-Ayala, whose son, Gerardo Montoya-Ojeda, suffered gunshot wounds to the head and arm.

“He struggles a lot. He doesn’t want to go to school anymore,” she said. Ojeda-Ayala fought through tears as she recounted the day she learned of the shooting at her children’s school.

“I received a text from my daughter,” she said. “The text said, ‘Mom. There’s a shooting happening at the school,’”  Ojeda-Ayala said she tried to text her son, but he did not immediately respond.

When she finally reached him by phone, Ojeda-Ayala said she could tell her son was in shock.

“He didn’t sound like my son,” Ojeda-Ayala said her son did not suffer any brain damage, but he is still recovering from the gunshot wound to his arm.

Lorie Jones, whose son Joshua Jones was shot twice while tackling shooting suspect Devon Erickson, also fought back tears as she described the day she learned of the shooting.

“He was scared. He was trying really hard not to scare me,” she said. “I was quite honestly scared to death.”

Jones said her son, who is now 19, recently left for a church mission trip to Bogota, Colombia. Josh Jones recovered from four bullet wounds in his body, including two in his hip and two in his calf, his mom said.

McKinney’s counselor, Ashley Williamson, also testified Friday. She said she had seen McKinney as a client 27 times between July 2017 and April 2019.

She said McKinney would often talk about cutting himself as a method of coping and that he didn’t like the way the scars looked on his body.

When asked by the prosecution whether she was aware of McKinney’s alleged drug use and abuse, Williamson testified that she was unaware of his involvement with cocaine, marijuana, or alcohol or that he had allegedly joked about killing a classmate not long before the school shooting.

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