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New Details Emerge in STEM Shooting as Suspects Appear in Court

STEM school

Local affiliates are reporting that bullying was tied to the incident at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, appeared in court Wednesday as suspects in the shooting of the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Eight students were injured and one, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, was killed in the attack of the K-12 school, located about 25 miles outside of Denver.

Denver's ABC affiliate, KMGH-TV, reports McKinney is transgender and was bullied for his gender presentation, according to "sources close to the investigation."

When McKinney appeared in court Wednesday, his attorney said his client's name is Alec -- which was different from the name listed in the court record -- and he prefers male pronouns, reports the Associated Press.

Sheriff Tony Spurlock, addressing reporters on Wednesday before McKinney's court appearance, declined to answer a question regarding the gender identity of the suspect, reports Reuters. "Right now we are identifying the individual as a female, because that's where we're at," Spurlock said. "We originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance."


Above: Devon Erickson

Meanwhile, Erickson made his court appearance earlier in the day, appearing in an orange jumpsuit and a shock of purple dyed in his black hair. He faces one count of first-degree murder and 29 counts of attempted murder.

Erickson was involved in musical theater and was a singer in a few rock bands, according to theDenver Post. The New York Times reports that a YouTube account in his name, featuring cover songs from bands like Panic! at the Disco, had recently been removed.

Screenshots of Erickson's Facebook profile obtained by The Advocate show a self-portrait with a rainbow overlay in celebration of Pride among the posted photographs.

It is not yet known if McKinney will be charged as an adult.

Editor's note: The headline of this article has been modified after publication.

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