DENVER — The year 2020 is upon us, and we're looking back at the events that dominated the news cycle in Colorado in 2019. Below are the seven most-read articles on TheDenverChannel.com.
On May 7, a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch wounded eight and took the life of 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, a senior who was hailed as a hero for springing into action during the attack. The two suspects, 16-year-old Alec McKinney and 18-year-old Devon Erickson, were each charged with first degree murder and are awaiting trial in Douglas County.
An 18-year-old woman from Surfside, Florida, traveled to Denver in April, purchased a gun, and made undisclosed threats to area schools as the community prepared to remember the victims of the Columbine school shooting 20 years after the massacre. Sol Pais, who authorities said was obsessed with the Columbine shooting, sparked a massive manhunt as police tried to locate her. On April 17, Pais was found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot wound near the base of Mt. Evans.
On March 13, a massive blizzard struck Colorado. The storm dumped several inches of snow, blew over trees and power lines, stranded drivers and forced the cancellation of thousands of flights in and out of Denver International Airport. The largest amount of snow that fell in a 24 hour period during the storm was 52 inches, measured near Wolf Creek Pass. Winds reached speeds of up to 97 mph. Hundreds of people had to be rescued from their vehicles.
On April 25, a runaway semi carrying lumber crashed into a line of stopped vehicles on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Lakewood, killing four and injuring two dozen people. The semi driver, Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, of Texas, was charged with 36 felony counts and is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty. He's being accused of running out the breaks on his rig and ignoring runaway truck ramps as he made his way down I-70.
All 46 schools in a Grand Junction-area school district were shut down in November after an unknown virus spread among students and district employees. Crews worked over the Thanksgiving break to disinfect the schools, and they were later reopened.
On January 15, professional bull rider Mason Lowe, 25, died after he was injured in competition in Denver. He had been participating in the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo at Denver's National Western Complex.
Austin Eubanks, who survived the Columbine High School massacre and inspired others to overcome addiction later in life, was found dead at his home in Steamboat Springs May 18. An autopsy showed that Eubanks died of a heroin overdose.