School Shooting Colorado

A display grows outside the STEM School Highlands Ranch a week after the attack on the school that left one student dead and others injured, May 14. Student Kendrick Castillo pictured in the display was was fatally wounded in the May 7 shooting. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DOUGLAS COUNTY — The mother of the 18-year-old killed during the STEM School shooting in May said she "had the perfect family" before that fateful day while testifying during the final day of a hearing that will determine if the younger suspect will be tried as a juvenile or as an adult.

Last week, a judge ruled there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial for 16-year-old Alec McKinnney. The reverse transfer hearing that wrapped up Wednesday afternoon will determine if that trial will happen in juvenile or adult court. The judge will issue a written decision on Dec. 4.

"Just because juveniles are looked upon as being young doesn’t mean that they don’t have the capacity to do mass homicides, shootings and domestic terror," said John Castillo after the hearing.

He's the father of Kendrick Castillo who was killed in the shooting.

"I’m not saying that troubled youth can’t be rehabilitated, but it depends on the crime that they’re doing," John Castillo said. "Mass-calculated murder on innocent students is not one of those."

McKinney and his co-defendant, 19-year-old Devon Erickson, are accused in the May 7 shooting that ended in the death of Kendrick Castillo, who is lauded as a hero for joining other classmates to rush one of the two gunmen. Eight others were also shot.

"I hugged him, told him I love him like every day," Maria Castillo said during her emotional testimony about the day of the shooting. Loud sobbing could be heard throughout the courtroom while she spoke. Even McKinney, who has often sat looking straight ahead with no emotion, cried.

She said she texted her only son at 12:50 p.m. asking if he would be home after school and that he replied saying he planned to come home.

That was the last time she heard from her son. Just over an hour later, she said, her husband, John Castillo, called and told her there had been a shooting at the school.

It took place just days before Kendrick Castillo would have graduated.

"I had all the invitations for his graduations ready to send," she testified. "I still have them at home."


STEM School shooting | Full Coverage

Full coverage of the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting near Denver on May 7, in which one student was killed and eight people were injured. 

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