The teenage girl’s given name is Maya but the female prefers to be called “Alec” and identifies as a male, McKinney’s attorneys said during their client’s first court appearance on May 8, reported CBS Denver.
McKinney, 16, and Devon Erickson, 18, a male, allegedly carried out a shooting at STEM Highlands Ranch on May 7, killing one and wounding eight others.
This is 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo. He was the young man killed in the #STEMshooting yesterday.
We’re told he was passionate about technology, on the school’s robotics team, and set to graduate in just 3 days. Sending his family so much love during this time. ???????? @CBSDenver pic.twitter.com/QYalFnsCom
— Mekialaya White (@Mekialaya) May 8, 2019
Authorities said they initially believed McKinney was a male but later discovered she was a young female.
McKinney was being held without bond and waived the reading of formal charges.
When McKinney left the courtroom, her mother remained at a table inside, alone and crying, reported the Denver Post.
District Attorney George Brauchler said that he will announce formal charges against McKinney and Erickson on Friday and will also announce whether he will charge McKinney as an adult. McKinney is currently being held at the Marvin W. Foote Youth Services Center in Englewood but would be transferred to Douglas County Jail if charged as an adult.
— New York Post (@nypost) May 9, 2019
District Court Judge Theresa Slade declined a request during the hearing that McKinney’s handcuffs be removed, citing what she’d read in court filings, and said she was withholding bond because “McKinney is a danger to others.”
According to Heavy, which uses open source records, including social media pages, to compile profiles of people in the news, McKinney posted multiple missives on Twitter expressing anger at STEM students. McKinney’s Twitter profile picture shows her with Erickson. She also posted that her mother didn’t like the “new Alec.”
The Twitter page appeared to be taken down as of May 9. Erickson’s Facebook page was removed on May 8.
A friend of both wrote on Instagram that the pair allegedly carried out the shooting because they were struggling with mental health issues.
“They’re both struggling with mental health issues and this is a time for awareness,” the person claimed. McKinney “did not do this because he’s trans[gender], but had people supported him in the way he needed and deserved, he would not have struggled so much that he got pushed over the edge.”
The World Health Organization classified a person claiming to be a gender different from the one they were born as a mental illness until June 2018.
Erickson, meanwhile, had posted an anti-President Donald Trump video and shared a pro-Barack Obama post on Facebook. He also wrote a missive in 2014 in which he said he hates some Christians “who hate gays.”
Classmates took to the page before it was taken down to denigrate the alleged shooter, with one writing: “If there is a death penalty in Colorado, I hope you get it.”