US

Security Guard Fired at Deputy During Colorado School Shooting: Reports

By Zachary Stieber

The security guard at a Colorado school during a school shooting fired his weapon at a sheriff’s deputy, according to new reports.

A high-ranking source close to the investigation told KMGH that a deputy rushed into STEM Highlands Ranch on May 7 in response to an active shooter situation but quickly ran back out, telling his superior that the school’s security guard had shot at him.

In addition to investigating why the guard fired at a deputy, authorities were also probing if a bullet from the guard’s gun struck a student.

The shooting on Tuesday left one student dead and eight others wounded.

highlands ranch school shooting
A Douglas County, Colo., Sheriffs Department deputy walks past the doors to the STEM Highlands Ranch school early in Highlands Ranch, Colo. on May 8, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)
Students exit an ambulance at a recreation center for students to get reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school in Highlands Ranch, Colo. on May 7, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP)

The school’s security guard is not a law enforcement officer but employed through a private security company, BOSS High Level Protection.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said earlier in the week that the guard restrained one of the suspects.

The company’s owner, Grant Whitus, previously said the security guard is a former Marine who ran to the area of the shootings and confronted one of the armed students in a hallway.

“He doesn’t even realize how many lives he saved by stopping a school shooting,” Whitus said.

Highlands Ranch, Colorado where two students carried out a school shooting. (Maps4News/HERE)

Robert Burk, the attorney for the security guard, who hasn’t been identified, told KMGH that his client was also employed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for four years.

“When he heard what was happening over the radio, he ran to the site of the incident and he took every action he could to protect the children,” he said. “From what I’ve talked to him about—his response was everything you could expect from a security guard.”

Surveillance video from inside the school doesn’t show who was struck by gunfire but two sources said that the shooters, a male and a female, were in different rooms and that the security guard dealt with one of them. The other, as has been widely documented, was tackled by several students, one of whom died in the process.

The guard may not have known who was arriving at the school and mistakenly fired at law enforcement thinking the deputy was another shooter.

One of the students was possibly hit by a bullet that didn’t come from one of the shooters’ guns, meaning it came from a gun fired by either the guard or a deputy, one of the sources said. Law enforcement officials confirmed the investigation with 9 News, saying the investigation will also include ballistics testing.

students walk out of vigil
Attendees illuminate their mobile telephones during a community vigil to honor the victims and survivors of the fatal shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colo. late May 8, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)
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/Reuters)

The officials also confirmed that investigators were looking at why the guard fired at a deputy.

Whitus, the CEO of Boss, told ABC on Thursday that the guard was interviewed for about an hour following the shooting and then released.

The guard has not been interviewed since, he said.

Whitus said that security guards from his company are armed with 9mm handguns and are only allowed to discharge their weapons in the event of an imminent threat of life.

The school, a K-12 school just outside of Denver, was closed for the remainder of the week following the shooting.