Alleged School Shooter Says He Targeted Students Because They Mocked Him Over Gender Identity, According To Police

Alec McKinney "said he wanted the kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he had had to in his life," according to police documents.

By Eric Shorey
STEM school shooting

A teen accused of killing a fellow student at a high school shooting in Colorado said that he had planned the attack for weeks, specifically intending to harm those who had mocked him for his gender identity, according to police.

Written summaries of police interviews with Alec McKinney, who identifies as male, suggest that he had taken a gun to his school because he had been relentlessly bullied by classmates who had intentionally misgendered and taunted him. McKinney allegedly commandeered 18-year-old Devon Erickson to help with the attack that killed one and injured 8 at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colorado on the afternoon of May 7.

McKinney "said he wanted the kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he had had to in his life," reads the document obtained by The Associated Press. "He wanted everyone in that school to suffer and realize that the world is a bad place."

McKinney also told police that students had called him "disgusting" and referred to him "as a she," according to the documents.

McKinney and Erickson allegedly stole the four firearms they used in the shooting from Erickson's home and carried them to school concealed in a guitar case after snorting cocaine. Erickson added that McKinney had threatened him and that McKinney was the mastermind of the attack. Erickson "couldn't articulate how or why he never told an adult," according to the document. McKinney told a different story, saying that Erickson was an active participant in that he loaded the guns, locked the door of the classroom they targeted, and fired the first shot.

McKinney emptied a revolver and a Glock of their rounds before surrendering to security. Kendrick Castillo, 18, one of three students who attempted to tackle the shooters, was killed.

Kevin Cole, a student at the school, said that he was at one point friends with the Erickson.

"[Friends] couldn't believe that he would actually do it, but they weren't entirely surprised that he did," Cole told CNN, adding that Erickson had been a bully who regularly made jokes about school shootings. "He would just get really close and kind of hunch himself over your shoulder as you were sitting down, and he would just whisper in your ear 'Don't come to school tomorrow' and just kind of crack a smile and walk back to his seat."

Both teens have been charged with murder and attempted murder. Neither has submitted a plea.

McKinney is being tried as an adult. His attorney is filing appeals so as to have his case moved back to juvenile court. 

The document also revealed that a security guard accidentally shot a female student during the chaos caused by the attack.

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