Both accused shooters in STEM School shooting appear in court

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The two students accused of opening fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch Tuesday appeared in court on Wednesday.

“It’s like life interrupted, frozen in time,” District Attorney George Brauchler said as he recalled walking through the crime scene. “You can imagine the chaos that might exist there.”

The 18-year-old suspect and the 16-year-old suspect remain in custody without bond. 

Judge Theresa Slade presided over both hearings.

The 18-year-old appeared in court with black and pink hair and a red jumpsuit. The 16-year-old has dark short hair and was wearing a black jumpsuit. The 16-year-old was identified by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office as a girl, but in the courtroom, the public defender for the 16-year-old said that his client identifies as male. 

The two accused shooters only said “yes” or “no” when asked a question by the judge.  

The 16-year-old was given a court-appointed guardian. 

“They’re there to look out exclusively for the best interest of the juvenile, not tactical wins or losses in the courtroom,” Brauchler said. 

The prosecution team may choose to try the 16-year-old as an adult. Brauchler said he would discuss with his team and the victim’s family on how to move forward.  

“The defense has the ability to try and convince the court to send the case back to juvenile court and treat the 16-year-old as a kid,” Brauchler said.

In both cases, the defense asked to be present during law enforcement’s investigation, but Slade said the defense should only enter the crime scene for purposes of their own investigation after law enforcement was finished but before the school is opened back up to the community.  

After the court proceedings, Brauchler said that he unfortunately has experience with high-profile cases and feels that gives him a leg up on this case.  

Formal charges will be filed Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock.  

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