Alleged Colorado Gunman Bullied Others and Joked About School Shootings, a Former Friend Says

By Wire Service

One of the suspects in the deadly Colorado school shooting is a bully who joked about shootings and threatened other students for years, a former friend said.

Kevin Cole used to go to STEM School Highlands Ranch, where one student was killed and eight others injured in a shooting on May 7. Two suspects are in custody and will appear in court next week to hear the charges against them.

Devon Erickson Colorado
Devon Erickson, 18, accused of taking part in a deadly school shooting at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, appears at the Douglas County Courthouse where he faces murder and attempted murder charges, in Castle Rock, Colorado, on May 8, 2019. (Joe Amon/The Denver Post/Pool via Reuters)

One of those alleged shooters was Devon Erickson, 18, who was once a friend of Cole’s.

“They couldn’t believe that he would actually do it, but they weren’t entirely surprised that he did,” Cole said of the suspect’s friends.

Cole told CNN’s Scott McLean on Friday that Erickson had a pattern of bullying, violence and jokes about mass shootings.

He would enter the classroom and say, “when the pencil hits the floor I’m going to start shooting.” Then, he would spend the rest of class sporadically dropping pencils, Cole said of the suspect.

And sometimes, the “jokes” were more like threats.

Kevin Cole used to go to STEM School Highlands Ranch,
Kevin Cole used to go to STEM School Highlands Ranch. (CNN)

“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,” Cole said.

People would write it off as “that was just a Devon thing” and laugh, Cole said.

CNN has reached out to the STEM school.

STEM Highlands Ranch school
A Douglas County, Colo., Sheriff’s Department deputy walks past the doors to the STEM Highlands Ranch school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on May 8, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Suspect Was Also Violent, Former Student Says

The two drifted apart after the alleged shooter started bullying Cole’s brother, spreading rumors and spending class periods taunting him, he said.

The bullying never got physical with Cole’s brother, he said, but it did with others.

The alleged gunman would get into fights when people he didn’t like made him mad, Cole said. He described an incident in the eighth grade when he said the alleged gunman choked one of his own friends with a rubber tube in the middle of class.

shooter shared anti-trump post
Devon Erickson, 18, has been accused of carrying out a shooting at STEM Highlands Ranch in Colorado. (Devon Erickson/Facebook)

He probably thought it was playful, Cole said, but the friend had to go home that day. Cole didn’t know if there were any consequences to that incident.

“That’s how he got his kicks, that’s what he thought was funny is if he could get a reaction out of you,” Cole said.

The two teenage suspects in the deadly mass shooting at the charter school will appear in court next week to hear the charges against them.

Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney, both students at the school, will face murder, attempted murder and perhaps other charges, said George Brauchler, district attorney for Douglas and other counties. He said he’s considering charging McKinney as an adult.

McKinney, 16, was identified as one of two suspects in the STEM Highlands Ranch shooting, which left one dead and eight wounded.

According to records obtained by the Daily Mail, McKinney’s father Jose Evis Quintana is a Mexican national who has been deported twice.

Quintana once served over a year in jail after being convicted of domestic violence against McKinney’s mother and was arrested multiple times in Colorado between 2008 and 2017.

Despite the domestic violence conviction, Quintana, 33, married Morgan Lynn McKinney, 32, in 2009. He was deported the next year.

In July 2009, McKinney successfully gained permanent custody of their children. The couple had three children together, including Maya McKinney, who was born in 2003.

In November 2009, Morgan McKinney and Quintana were married. She filed for divorce in 2014, describing in court papers how Quintana “has been traveling illegally between Colorado and Mexico.”

In 2016, an arrest warrant was issued for Quintana for domestic violence. He was located in Colorado, arrested for being a fugitive, and jailed pending extradition to New Mexico. He was soon deported.

Their hearings were scheduled for Friday but have been moved to Wednesday morning, the district attorney’s office said.

NTD News Reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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