DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. – Court records and information from multiple sources paint a picture of the lives lived by the two suspects who are accused of murdering Kendrick Castillo and injuring eight other students May 7 at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation, who are not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, say the mother of 18-year-old alleged shooter Devon Erickson suffered significant mental health challenges just days before her son allegedly brought guns, stolen from his house, to STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Investigators are also looking into postings on Twitter that appear to have been made by the 16-year-old suspect, who identifies as a male but was born a female. The tweets say the teen missed his father – who has been deported three times.
Denver7 is not currently naming the suspect because the suspect has not been charged as an adult. 18th District Attorney George Brauchler will make that decision, which could come as early as Wednesday, when prosecutors are expected to formally charge both suspects.
The tweets linked to the younger suspect make references, sometimes using explicit language, to the suspect's father and trouble with other students at the STEM School.
Publicly available court records show the parents of the 16-year-old suspect had several runs-ins with the law when the suspect and siblings were much younger.
The younger suspect’s father was charged after a 2008 incident in which the suspect’s mother said she was abused by Jose Evis Quintana while the kids were present. The victim claimed Quintana physically forced her into a vehicle against her will.
“She stated that she was terrified of him and that she knew he would kill her but was scared because she thought he was ‘really going to hurt me or the kids,’” a Castle Rock police officer wrote in an affidavit.
The woman dialed 911 before leaving the house, the affidavit says, and whispered her address into the phone. She then tried to delay leaving by claiming she needed to pack a bag for the kids, while hoping police would arrive.
They did not immediately do so, and she claimed she was forced into the car, according to the affidavit.
At the last second, the documents state, the woman used another excuse – that she needed to get a baby blanket for the children – to try to again delay leaving. But she was unsuccessful in delaying long enough for police to arrive.
The woman said her husband took a knife with him and drove away with the family inside.
Police eventually pulled the family over and an officer said Quintana took off running, according to the affidavit. But he was later captured.
Quintana was at the time charged with kidnapping, menacing, child abuse, reckless driving and vehicular eluding, but all the charges were dismissed by the district attorney’s office except the felony menacing charge. Quintana pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, records show.
A Department of Corrections spokeswoman said the department did not have a record of anyone serving time in the state prison system under Quintana’s name and date of birth. It’s unclear what time he served in a county jail.
Quintana has entered the country illegally three times, according to a Denver spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Aletha Smock.
“Between 2010 and 2018, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed Jose ‘aka Evis’ Luis Quintana-Dominguez to Mexico three times,” Smock said in a statement. “He has a July 2009 aggravated felony conviction for felony menacing with a weapon which made him subject to removal. A federal immigration judge ordered him removed to Mexico Dec. 9, 2010. He has illegally re-entered the U.S. at least twice after his initial removal.”
Erickson is expected to be formally charged Wednesday morning in the shooting, and the 16-year-old suspect could be charged as well.
A celebration of life for Castillo will be held Wednesday afternoon.
The last of the eight injured students to be released from the hospital was back home from Littleton Adventist earlier this week.