STEM Shooting trial coverage
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STEM school shooting verdicts spark strong emotions in court

After two years of anger and sorrow, John and Maria Castillo cried tears of joy June 15 as a jury found the person who fatally shot their son guilty of first-degree murder.   Devon …

STEM shooter found guilty of first-degree murder

After five hours of deliberation, the jury in the trial against Devon Erickson found that he is guilty of first- degree murder for his role in the attack on STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, …

Jury deliberations begin in STEM trial

Seconds before shots rang out in Room 107 at STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, 2019, an armed Devon Erickson sent a message to his friend, who also had guns in his bag.   “Go …

STEM shooter testifies against alleged helper

  In his second day of testimony, an admitted shooter of the STEM School Highlands Ranch reversed the story he told immediately following the May 7, 2019 attack.   Alec McKinney, …

Younger STEM shooting suspect takes stand

The plan for the May 7, 2019 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch was for one of the shooters to be killed in the end and one to be "a hero," according to a gunman who spoke to a courtroom on June …

'I pleaded twice' - New details emerge in STEM shooting testimonies

Lucas Albertoni was crawling through classroom 107 in STEM School Highlands Ranch when he was confronted by Alec McKinney’s gun. Albertoni looked up as he was attempting to flee and saw the …
Coverage of the STEM School shooting trial

From the first moment that word broke on May 7, 2019 about active shooters at a Highlands Ranch school, to the present as the survivors and the family of Kendrick Castillo cope with the aftermath, Colorado Community Media has been there, doing what we can to cover this community-shattering event. 

This page is dedicated to chronicling the events of that day, and the events that have followed.

Follow reporter Elliott Wenzler as she follows along with the ongoing court proceedings of the defendant Devon Erickson in the shooting case. And read below for news of how the Castillo family has endured the one-year anniversary of Kendrick's death, as well as the legal and political reverbrations have shook Douglas County. 

STEM Shooting a year later
STEM shooting: Share your story

The STEM School shooting on May 7 forever changed the lives of everyone affected, and had ripple-effects throughout a community that felt remarkably safe and secure. Email our south metro reporter here and tell us your story.

Kendrick Castillo: ‘He was the perfect son’

On her first Mother’s Day without her only child, Maria Castillo mustered the strength to get out of bed and into the shower, where she wept.  In the kitchen, eight teenage boys and girls, friends of her son, cooked her breakfast. They added items to a bench, a makeshift shrine, with a few of her son’s favorite things: Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” A pair of lab safety glasses. A pocket-sized, dark-green Jeep — the same color and model as the one parked in the driveway.

Related News
Runners in blue, from STEM’s cross-country team, joined volunteers from Run For the Fallen during the tribute for Kendrick Castillo, who was killed in the May 7 STEM shooting. They ran the mile dedicated to Kendrick with the volunteers. Run for the Fallen honors teen killed in STEM shooting
Kendrick Castillo wasn't the type to boast about awards or honors, but his father believes the 18-year-old would have appreciated the Run for the Fallen event recognizing his son Sept. 15, he said. …
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John Castillo speaks with reporters following the first day in a preliminary hearing for one STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect. Castillo’s son, 18-year-old Kendrick, died rushing the older of the two suspects. Judge rules there is enough evidence to move STEM shooting suspect's case forward
Go now. Those are the words the older suspect in the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting sent via Snapchat to his co-defendant shortly before the first shots were fired. A Douglas County judge said …
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Experts weigh benefits of school resource officers
Leaders in school safety and law enforcement agree that school resource officers offer more than security. They provide education about issues like cyberbullying and dating violence and engrain …
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SROs and Douglas County schools: What do they cost and how many are there?
Costs to fund a school resource officer are typically split between the law enforcement agencies providing them and the organizations receiving services. The Douglas County School District, the …
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Parents, community members seek school security solutions
David Ray, president of the Douglas County Board of Education, opened a May 14 school board meeting with a moment of silence for Kendrick Castillo, who was killed in the May 7 school shooting at STEM …
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The Community

Highlands Ranch community coming together

Since the May 7 shooting, hundreds of people, from near and far, have used social media to connect with others and brainstorm ways to support those hurting.

Starting May 10, Fastsigns, a custom sign and graphic company based in Englewood, is giving away “STEM Strong” yard signs in honor of Kendrick Castillo, the STEM student who was killed in the shooting. The company requests a $10 donation in cash or check, which will go to Castillo's memorial fund at Wells Fargo.

Larissa Croll, owner of Fastsigns, 5124 S. Broadway, thought of the idea when a Douglas County teacher requested the sign, she said in a news release.

“Our community is rallying around the students, teachers and families affected by this tragedy and around the first responders who were there to help,” Croll said in the release.
In Highlands Ranch, Shaylynn Hall, a STEM parent, organized a May 10 supply drive to thank and honor law enforcement who responded to the shooting, along with STEM teachers and the Castillo family. At Northridge Recreation Center, community members funneled through a conference room, placing comfort food and necessities into buckets. Therapy dogs occupied the hallway.

The event had a ripple effect.

“This is as much healing for this staff as it is for them,” said Jamie Noebel, community relations manager for the Highlands Ranch Community Association.

During the shooting, Northridge was designated as a reunification center for parents and students of the K-12 school.

Resources and ways to help

Colorado communities rally following shooting; mental health resources abound

In the aftermath of tragedy, mental health experts point to resources and encourage the community to stay resilient.

“We are strong. Colorado is strong,” said Dr. Sarah Davidon, research director at Mental Health Colorado, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the treatment and prevention of mental health and substance-use disorders. “Our school districts are strong. Our communities are strong.”

Colorado knows the sequence of events all too well. The May 7 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch that left one student dead and eight others injured adds to a list of mass shootings the state has experienced.

Anxiety and tension following such a tragedy are common feelings in adults and children, Davidon said. It's important for young people to know they are safe, their schools are safe and their feelings are validated.

“Kids sense a lot of anxiety and tension in the adults around them,” Davidon said. “Certainly we want to let children know that when something like this happens, it's OK to feel these things.”

Individuals process trauma differently. Some may react within weeks of a tragedy. For others it may take weeks or months, according to mental health organizations.

Symptoms to look for in children are a hyper-focus on death, problems with eating and sleeping, changes in behavior and school avoidance, according to Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for family mental health.

In adults, responses to trauma may include flashbacks or nightmares, fear, edginess, social isolation and changes in mood.

Mental Health Colorado is one of several public health organizations that offer a robust network of online resources. For help in a number of areas — grief, how to find mental health services near you, suicide prevention and more — visit

Resources at school

Schools are among the safest places to be, Davidon stresses.

Douglas County School District's network of mental health resources includes Prevention and School Culture and Mental Health Intervention departments.

The departments — made up of counselors, mental health professionals and teachers — spearhead seminars on life skills and promote wellness campaigns in schools, such as Sources of Strength. The suicide prevention program takes an upstream approach by helping students focus on what is working in their lives.

Each school has a crisis team that responds to building-level situations. Following the STEM tragedy, DCSD activated its district-level crisis team. Mental health professionals and administrators, in conjunction with the district's community relations department and local law enforcement, work together to provide assistance to communities across the county.

How to help STEM shooting victims

An official fundraising page has been set up for STEM School Highlands Ranch via The Foundation for Douglas County Schools. It can be found at

"All donations received through this campaign will be used for the benefit of our impacted students. Thank you for your support during this time," the website states.

In addition, a fund started last year to help victims of mass tragedy has been activated in the aftermath of the STEM shooting that left one student dead and eight wounded.

The Colorado Healing Fund is chaired by former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman and the nonprofit organization’s board of trustees, according to a news release.

"The Colorado Healing Fund exists to serve as the trusted, statewide organization for the collection of public donations in the aftermath of a mass tragedy," Coffman said in the release.

"Donations from caring Coloradans can be channeled to organizations working directly with victims of this terrible tragedy. If you want to help, we encourage you to give through the Colorado Healing Fund and know your generosity will help victims, survivors, families and the STEM School Highlands Ranch community in the weeks and months ahead."

Donations can be made by visiting and donating through Colorado Gives. Checks and in-person donations will be accepted at Colorado-based FirstBank locations. Donors should make checks out to “Colorado Healing Fund” and designate their donation for “victims accounts” to bank tellers.

Donations will be distributed to victims by the fund’s community partners, including the Colorado Organization of Victim Assistance.

Local victim assistance organizations and Douglas County officials are partnering with CHF to determine how best to support individuals and families after the STEM shooting, according to the release.



How to talk to your children about violence

The National Association of School Psychologists has advice for parents wanting information on how to talk to their children in the aftermath of tragedies like the one at STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7.

“High-profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk,” the organization says on its website. “They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.”

The following is a brief summary of some of the organization’s tips for parents. More can be found at the National Association of School Psycologists.

• Reassure children that they are safe. 

Make time to talk. 

Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.

Review safety procedures. 

Observe children’s emotional state. 

Limit television viewing of the traumatic events. 

• Maintain a normal routine. 

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