One Killed, Eight Injured in Shooting at Colorado School
Just over two weeks after the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, the Denver area was impacted by another incident, which left one student dead and eight wounded. Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, are accused of opening fire with at least two handguns inside classrooms at STEM School Highlands Ranch (pictured) on May 7. The school, which is 7 miles from Columbine, educates more than 1,850 students in grades K-12. First-degree murder and attempted murder charges have been filed, while prosecutors consider other charges. Authorities said Erickson took the firearms, which were legally purchased, from his parents. An 18-year-old senior, Kendrick Castillo, died after being shot while rushing Erickson after he pulled out a gun. Two other students then wrestled Erickson down and disarmed him. Authorities said a private security guard patrolling the school disarmed the other shooter. Law enforcement responded minutes after receiving reports of the shooting and immediately entered the school.
Dallas Man Convicted of Attempting to Support ISIS
A Dallas man who attempted to recruit and promote violence for ISIS through social media was found guilty of multiple terrorism charges on May 3. A federal jury convicted Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim, 42, of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and six counts of making false statements involving international terrorism to federal authorities. Rahim wrote comments supporting acts of terror on a direct messaging app channel, “State of the Islamic Caliphate.” His statements included calls for supporters to “kill by any means” and “mobilize and perform jihad for the cause of Allah. … Some of the brothers mobilized from this channel, they were amongst us.” He also praised the vehicle ramming in Nice, France, in July 2016 that killed 87 people. Authorities arrested Rahim as he tried to board a flight to Jordan at Dallas Forth Worth International Airport on March 5, 2017. He denied supporting ISIS or urging others to do so when questioned. Rahim faces up to 88 years in prison.
California Man Accused in Synagogue Shooting Charged With Federal Hate Crimes
A man now faces 109 federal hate crime charges following a shooting at a California synagogue that killed one person and injured three. Prosecutors announced May 9 that John T. Earnest, of Rancho Peñasquitos, California, faces 54 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs using a dangerous weapon and 54 counts of violating the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in connection with the shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover, April 27. According to a criminal complaint, Earnest called 911 and told a dispatcher that he opened fire in the synagogue because “the Jewish people are destroying the white race.” The 19-year-old has also been charged with a single count of damage to religious property by use of fire in relation to arson at an Escondido, California, mosque in March, which prosecutors said he admitted to in an anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim manifesto discovered after the synagogue shooting. Earnest has pleaded not guilty to state charges of murder and attempted murder.