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Colorado STEM school shooter guilty on 46 counts, including murder of Kendrick Castillo

Devon Erickson, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, was convicted in the 2019 attack on the school in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch.

One of the two former students accused in the 2019 fatal STEM school shooting in a Colorado suburb was convicted on 46 counts Tuesday, including first-degree murder.

The man, Devon Erickson, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, was found guilty of the murder of Kendrick Castillo, the only person to die in the attack. He was convicted of various other charges, including attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and providing a juvenile a handgun.

Erickson faces life in prison without parole.

Castillo, who was also 18, was hailed as a hero for trying to stop the attack in May 2019 at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, about 15 miles south of Denver.

Image: Devon Erickson
Devon Michael Erickson in court for his advisement hearing in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 8, 2019.Joe Amon / The Denver Post via AP file

Alec McKinney, who was 16 and was also identified as one of the gunmen, pleaded guilty last year. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years on the murder charge, as well as 38 more years on other charges.

McKinney testified against Erickson, saying they planned for weeks before carrying out the shooting, NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reported. The two planned that Erickson would kill McKinney after killing everyone in the classroom and then Erickson would blame the shooting on McKinney, according to the testimony.

Erickson's attorneys pushed back, alleging that McKinney "manipulated" him into joining the shooting, KUSA reported. But Chief Deputy District Attorney George Brauchler told jurors that there was "zero evidence" of coercion or fear.

Probable cause documents released in 2019 said that police believed McKinney planned the shooting over repeated gender taunts and that he told police in interviews that "he wanted the kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he has had to in his life."

McKinney's attorney told police after the shooting that he was transitioning at the time and preferred male pronouns.

Erickson then got involved with the plan, the documents said. McKinney and Erickson told police that they went to Erickson's home during lunch, broke into a parent's gun safe and got three handguns and a rifle, as well as ammunition and magazines.

Prosecutors said Erickson fired his gun four times and killed Castillo as he lunged at Erickson, according to KUSA.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called Castillo a "real Colorado hero who died trying to protect others" in a statement after the conviction Tuesday.

"Kendrick Castillo's bravery will never be forgotten," Polis said. "While we cannot bring Kendrick back, we can find solace in the fact that the people responsible for this tragic and unthinkable event will be held accountable."