If you’ll recall, in May of 2019, two teenaged gunmen opened fire inside of STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. Before it was all over, 8 students were wounded and 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo was dead. Kendrick had rushed one of the gunmen in an attempt to stop him but was fatally wounded.
The gunman who fired the fatal shot was 18-year-old Devon Erickson. His cohort and the supposed ring leader was 16-year-old Alec McKinney. McKinney is trans and was transitioning from female to male. McKinney tried to claim that he heard voices that instructed him to kill, however, there was little evidence to support that claim. Both McKinney and Erickson were said to have indulged in cocaine prior to the shooting. McKinney is also said to have studied the Columbine shootings and tried to track down the social media accounts of suicidal Columbine fangirl Sol Pais.
Yesterday, the now 17-year-old McKinney was sentenced to life plus 38 years with eligibility for parole in 40 years. He could have been sentenced to an additional 400+ years, not a typo.
Kendrick’s father John Castillo had the opportunity to address McKinney and he didn’t hold back.
“We never got to see Kendrick until almost a week later, when the coroner was done with the investigation,” John Castillo testified, recounting the day he learned that his son had been killed. He said he could barely recognize Kendrick when he was finally able to see his son’s body.
Castillo called McKinney “a monster” and, addressing him, said “I condemn you to hell.”
He added: “Your plan didn’t work. You’re pure evil and you were met by good. You weren’t counting on Kendrick Castillo. Remember that name. Remember that face. I hope it haunts you every day of your life.”
McKinney himself offered an apology and it kind of sounds like he’s taken responsibility for his own actions.
“I don’t deserve leniency nor forgiveness,” he tearfully said. “I don’t want a lighter sentence.”
Neither Mr. Castillo and another witness who was targeted in the attack believed McKinney’s apology and that is their right. 99% of the time I would agree with them as most school shooters who are apprehended are only sorry they got caught.
However, McKinney said the following which I don’t think I’ve ever heard from a convicted school shooter.
McKinney also sent a message to anyone thinking about committing a similar act: “Get help now. The amount of pain it causes to everyone who ever cared about you and innocent people outweigh anything you are going through right now.”
Hopefully, some columbiner out there will take these words to heart and what could be the next school shooting won’t happen. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that McKinney had an active role in the murder of Kendrick Castillo and as such should spend the rest of his days in prison.
‘We Will Never Find Peace’: STEM School Shooting Victim Kendrick Castillo’s Father At Gunman’s Sentencing
STEM School Highlands Ranch shooter sentenced to life in prison after emotional, day-long hearing
Younger STEM shooter sentenced to life with parole plus 38 years