Denver

DENVER (AP) — A teen accused of killing a fellow student at his suburban Denver school in 2019 agreed to participate in the attack as long as it looked like he was pressured into participating and possibly emerged as a hero by killing the other student gunman, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday during the opening of his trial. Chief Deputy District Attorney George Brauchler said their concocted “victim-hero” strategy unraveled after Kendrick Castillo rushed Devon Erickson when he pulled out a gun inside a darkened classroom as students watched a movie. Erickson's gun went off, Castillo was killed and others tackled him, he said. Their other possible scenario, in which fellow gunman Alec McKinney killed himself, was stymied after an armed security guard apprehended him, Brauchler said. However, Erickson's lawyer tried to discredit that account and said he was manipulated into joining the attack by McKinney, a new friend who preyed on him during a family crisis and who was obsessed with a Florida teen described by authorities as “infatuated” with the the 1999 Columbine shooting. Sol Pais, 18, traveled to Colorado, bought a gun and killed herself right before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. About three weeks later, the May 7 shooting broke out at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

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