One of two suspects in US school shooting a girl

10 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

HIGHLANDS RANCH: One of the two suspects in a Colorado school shooting that left a student dead and eight wounded is a girl, Denver police said Wednesday, reports AFP.

The sheriff of Douglas County, in the Denver suburbs, initially said his men had arrested two boys after Tuesday’s shooting spree, both students at the Highlands Ranch STEM school. One of the suspects was 18 and the other was a minor.

But Sheriff Tony Spurlock on Wednesday said the minor was a girl and that his officers had mistaken her for a boy because of her appearance.

The shooting, which follows a series of deadly gun incidents at schools and elsewhere, comes amid heated debate on gun control measures in the United States.

Spurlock said that three of the wounded students were still in intensive care in a regional hospital Wednesday, while the others had been discharged.

The 18-year-old high school student who was killed was identified as Kendrick Ray Castillo, who had been set to graduate in three days at the end of the school year, officials said. 

“Our Nation grieves at the unspeakable violence that took a precious young life and badly injured others in Colorado,” tweeted President Donald Trump, praising the emergency services for “bravely intervening.”

Spurlock told a news conference one of the suspects had been “neutralized” by an armed security guard before the police arrived within minutes at the scene of the crime.

“We did not exchange any gun fire with them,” he said.

Two hand guns were seized, he said, noting that the FBI had also joined investigation. Police had scoured the two suspects’ social media accounts, mobile phone records and computers for any clue as to their motivation.

The older of the two suspects was due to appear in court later in the day for an arraignment hearing.

The Democratic governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, condemned the school attack. “America has seen too many of these senseless acts of violence,” he said.

The state had just commemorated the 20th anniversary of the notorious Columbine school shooting in which two heavily armed students aged 17 and 18 killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher on April 20, 1999, before committing suicide.

“This is not who we are. This aberrant act doesn’t define us,” said George Brauchler, the local district attorney.

Shootings by women are a rare occurrence in the United States, where the overwhelming majority of gun violence is carried out by men.

According to an FBI study that looked at 160 incidents involving one or more shooters in public places between 2000 and 2013, just six of the people who opened fire were women, or 3.8 percent.