STEM School Security Guard Fired His Weapon During Shooting, Possibly at Deputies

stem school highland ranch shooting

Audrey Glenn, left, hugs Andrew Schoenherr, a student at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, during a community vigil to honor the victims and survivors. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

As is always the case in these situations, it can take days or even longer to unravel exactly what happened in the wake of a high profile shooting. Facts tend to trickle out slowly and many initial reports turn out to be false. It took weeks to months before the full picture of the utter law enforcement failure that was Parkland was finally revealed.

STEM School Highlands Ranch did not have a school resource officer assigned to patrol the campus. Instead, they employed a paid security guard.

While law enforcement reportedly responded quickly to the 911 calls from (there is a cop shop less than a mile away) questions have been raised about the what the guard did or didn’t do when the shooting started. This after initial reports that the guard was “instrumental” in taking down one of the shooters.

Now thedenverchannel.com reports . . .

Shortly after a deputy rushed into Highlands Ranch Colorado STEM school Tuesday afternoon in response to an active shooter, he ran back out of the school and told his superior the school security guard had fired at him, a high-ranking source close to the investigation told Denver7.

ABC News first reported that investigators were trying to figure out how and why the security guard had fired at the deputy, and whether it was a mistake. A high-ranking source has confirmed this to Denver7. Authorities are also investigating if the guard accidentally shot an innocent student as the scene unfolded Tuesday. …

A second high-ranking source said video surveillance from the school doesn’t show who was struck by the gunfire. They told Denver7 that investigators have learned the gunmen were in two different rooms and the security guard only knew where one of them were (sic). The guard may not have known who was arriving to help, who was a suspect and who was an innocent student, the source said. The guard may have shot two rounds near SWAT teams.

The the latest from the AP tells a slightly different story . . .

A law enforcement official says a security guard fired his gun during this week’s shooting at a charter school in a Denver suburb.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the official was not authorized to release the information.

The official did not say whether the guard shot anybody at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday.

Robert Burk, an attorney for the guard, declined to confirm reports by news organizations that authorities are investigating whether the guard fired at a sheriff’s deputy and wounded a student.

Burk says the guard, whom he did not name, took decisive action that helped saved lives.

Boss Level High Protection owner Grant Whitus has said his employee confronted and apprehended one of the two suspects in the shooting that killed one student and wounded eight others.

As always, it’s best to let the facts come out in the fullness of time before drawing conclusions.

comments

  1. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    We need details. Was it a Glock? Which model/generation? Trigger type? Type of ammo? Modifications?

    Did it have the way cool Punisher backplate?

    I gots to know!

  2. avatar User1 says:

    I thought I heard initially that the shooters shot 7 and killed 1. Now they are saying 8 shot and 1 dead. So… I recall the media and police saying they heard gunfire when they arrived.

    It’s possible the security guard was jumpy and started shooting to save himself instead of identifying targets properly.

    1. avatar Arthur Derenthal says:

      Most likely !!!

    2. avatar Miner49er says:

      This was a charter school with problems, the situation was ready to cook off months ago. Parents brought the situation to the attention of both to school and the district but bureaucratic movement is slow to correct the issue and the parents predictions of an active shooter turned out to be real. We need more oversight of charter schools, they should be as accountable or even more so than public schools.

      Public schools usually have an elected school board and/or school superintendent who is answerable to the voters and the public at large. Most charter schools have no public control mechanism, and they are often run by private for-profit companies whose main motive is return on investment rather than educating children to the betterment of society.

      1. avatar Five says:

        You must have really great public schools and really crappy charter schools where you live. For the most part we have pretty decent public schools (by public school standards) where I live, but some of the Charter schools are highly competitive and rather prestigious to get into. Unfortunately, the most prestigious charter school in the city shares a building with the not so decent pubic school in the area. That intermix of high achieving students and low achieving students causes problems.

        Anyhow, point is, charter schools are as varied as anything else and it is unwise to lump them all together and laughable to think that public schools are somehow inherently better.

        1. avatar Miner49er says:

          Yes, there may be good actors in the charter school market, but overall the statistics don’t really look that good for charter schools.

          “A Nation analysis of the charter school group’s data, however, suggests the move may backfire, since the numbers also show that charter schools themselves reported a far higher spike in incidents of school violence, 54 percent, more than double that of the public school average between the 2014 and 2015 school years.

          Breaking the data down further, The Nation also found that while NYC public schools, perhaps responding to the district’s disciplinary reforms, actually dropped in nonviolent offenses like “criminal mischief” and “other disruptive incidents” at -6 percent and -23 percent, respectively, charter schools had a 65 percent surge in reported incidents of “criminal mischief” and a 33 percent surge in “other disruptive incidents.” Notably, charter schools also had far higher reported surges in drug and weapons possession incidents, at 53 percent and 27 percent respectively, whereas public schools only had 5 percent and 9 percent jumps for the same categories.”

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          Miner49er: you provided a quote which quoted a Nation article, but failed to provide the citation for your quote, which would be very helpful.
          As well, the Nation’s study didn’t, as far as I can tell, distinguish what the starting figures were when citing charter schools’ jumps in criminal mischief and other disruptive incidents. A jump from one to two would be a 100% jump, and look extremely bad, while being, in fact, an increase of only one, which, in context, would be nowhere as bad as a 15% jump in such incidents in a public school.
          Context, and citation, would help make your point immensely.

    3. avatar Miner49er says:

      “In a letter to STEM’s board of directors last year, school district officials raised questions about “legal costs for special education matters,” saying it had received more complaints since the beginning of the previous school year than any other charter school in the district — including one that resulted in a financial settlement agreement and two that resulted in corrective action.”

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        Citation?
        I ask, because the quote you make is woefully short on context.

  3. avatar jlo says:

    whatever the case im sure they will try to throw the book at the security guard, never mind the countless cases of cops shooting up vehicles that match the description of a criminals vehicle only to find out it was the wrong one…. or maybe that only happens in CA…

    1. avatar rt66paul says:

      Those officers were colorblind and couldn’t tell the difference between a Japanese and an American truck, or between an over 6′ black male or a 5′-3″ woman.

  4. avatar Texican says:

    I’m not sure I’d hire a security firm named “Boss Level High Protection.” That name doesn’t inspire confidence.

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    We don’t need to wait for reports, review of video surveillance and conclusion of investigations. Just listen to the media. They never screw it up.

    1. avatar User1 says:

      Was it Florida that wants to hide school shooting footage from the public through law?

    2. avatar EnDangerEd says:

      “… the gun used was a fully semiautomatic assault pistol…””… Right?

  6. avatar Knute(ken) says:

    “many initial reports turn out to be false. It took weeks to months before the full picture of the utter law enforcement failure that was Parkland was finally revealed.”
    Does anybody else notice that the bigger the LE failures, the longer it takes for the “facts to trickle out”, and the more fake narratives there are?
    And just who is it who’s in the position to set up all these fake stories and have them trumpeted by the MSM endlessly? Well, until they are proven false. Then they end by just evaporating into thin air. And who has the most motivation to lie? The students? The custodians or the janitors or the coaches or the teachers? Why, I think not.

  7. avatar Mad says:

    It sounds like he at least made contact unlike stoneman Douglas or Columbine

    1. avatar User1 says:

      Maybe having a manual safety and/or a double action only could slow down responders enough for them to see who they think they are shooting at.

      I have seen plenty of Glock users flinch a round off. Also people don’t like to stay in the low ready when they are scared. Add those two thing together…

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        User1, you have seen plenty of Glock users “flinch off” rounds. Please provide verifiable examples. Seriously, this is something I, and I think many others, would be interested in.

        1. avatar User1 says:

          You can see it happen in force on force training. There are a few videos out there of cops doing it.

          When people get scared of dying they put their finger on the trigger and point there gun toward the area that makes them the most concerned. When someone pops out they panic, tense up and fire a round.

          I don’t like when people can’t maintain composure / stay in the low ready. If someone is armed with a gun, then you must point yours at them to be a step ahead, when they start to raise the gun you will have the advantage.

          I am not comfortable with people resting their finger on the trigger of a non double action. I know some trainers think it’s a great thing for shooting people that pop up quickly, that way you can accurately shoot the offender. Those trainers believe people can control their fear, thus their natural instinct to squeeze.

          There is a reason why some hammer fired guns are DAO and some striker fired guns have a manual safety. Most CCWers don’t want a DAO nor a manual safety. These guns weren’t really made for them. Even so, they are not a bad idea if you are the person who would respond to chaotic situations instead of worrying only about yourself. I would advise teachers to look into these guns.

    2. avatar Tile Floor says:

      The SRO at Columbine went towards the school and exchanged gunfire with Harris and Klebold. When they went back into the school, he failed to follow them inside as was the protocol at the time. Not to say he was not wrong for not pursuing them, but saying he did not engage them is factually incorrect.

  8. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Let’s see, shooters shooting, I’m trying to stop the shooters, I see a human with a gunm, I’d probably spray lead his way, yup. Kinda what Law Enforcement does, so good for the goose, good for the gander.

    1. avatar User1 says:

      The training is anyone with a gun is a threat and all threats need to be engaged.

      I saw a training video where they had two people respond to an active shooter. All they knew was there is an active shooter, they didn’t know there would be two responders. One of those men was sent in first. The first responder engaged the shooter and killed him. The second responder was sent in after the first responder was. The second responder saw a man with a gun and told him to drop it, the first responder turned to see who yelled at him, the second responder shot the first responder dead because he assumed the first responder was the murderer.

      It’s simply shoot first, ask questions later.

      1. avatar EnDangerEd says:

        until you shoot a cop and then you are going to see the bars from the wrong side for a long time… IF the cops don’t “accidentally” kill you while trying to escape… Right??

        1. avatar Arizona Free says:

          Empire State building had two nypd guarding an entrance. A construction worker runs up to let them know the guy approaching has a gun in the gym bag he was carrying and just shot someone. From 8 to 10 feet away they draw their weapons and shoot 14 times hitting him six times. They were never under fire he was drawing the pistol from the bag. Yet they managed to wound nine people. Who wounded the nine came out slowly but since the gunman never fired a shot at the two cops it should have been an easy call.

  9. avatar enuf says:

    Sure hope the truth is the guard did good and saved lives and all these conflicting tales are just the usual fog and jumping to conclusions.

    Emergency incidents always carry a major load of confusion. Especially the more area and people it involves. Something I always taught trainees is to never believe the early reports in the media, even from eyewitnesses. Piece the store together from multiple sources. Always be clear you want to hear what a reporting party personally witnessed, never what they think happened around the corner, or out of sight.

  10. avatar Did not shoot the deputy says:

    This is why there is resistance to the idea of armed guards, staff etc. They have to be able to make the right call, all the time. Shooting police and/or students by accident will erode support quickly.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      “Oh no, people might make mistakes! Far better we wait to die helpless, at the hands of a guy bent on murdering everyone.”

  11. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    There seems to be a massive national lack of training for armed school security people whether they are certified law enforcement or private. I don’t care if somebody was the best Marine ever he still needs training on how to handle school situations and to recognize what is what, like screaming kids running in two directions at once.

  12. avatar barnbwt says:

    Sure hope it also doesn’t turn out he returned fire on trigger-happy police responders.

    Do we have info on the killers’ guns, yet? The deaths to wounded seem unusually low (and we just had a story on that)

    1. avatar FO says:

      Just out of curiosity, how many gunfights have you been in? Or active shooter incidents have you responded to? How many times has your adrenaline been ramped up beyond belief as you stepped over the bodies of dead kids? Trigger happy responders? Piss off you couch commando

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        Piss off, yourself FO-bag; we’re supposed to be civil here. My point was that it’s just as plausible at this early stage of information release, that any number of confusion-shot scenarios could have played out –yes, even involving your beloved, fallible police forces. Sure wouldn’t be the first time.

  13. avatar jakee308 says:

    This highlights to me that SWAT teams need to look like THE POLICE and not invaders on a mission.

    Just sayin’

    I know they need armor and stuff but it could be labeled better and clearer. Cops don’t need black or camo gear. THEY ARE THE GOOD GUYS and should look like cops and not some degenerates idea of what tactical looks like. All that black gear makes it less obvious who they are and what they’re doing there.

    1. avatar Owen says:

      ^This!

      Police are not soldiers or “operators”.

      Sure they need to look professional, but policing has gone down hill since they started looking like military.

      1. avatar Tile Floor says:

        The responding deputy was most likely not SWAT, but a dude in a patrol uniform.

        I get what you’re saying though, and any sort of tactical uniforms should have POLICE plastered all over them to be more easily identifiable, but at the same time a lot of department uniforms are black, even patrol uniforms. The one I currently wearing is black with an exterior vest, but it has a giant POLICE on the back and a smaller one on the front, and the badge and nameplate are metal to more immediately draw attention to them

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      All it takes is a shooter in a fake uniform or vest covered in patches, then. You can’t win going by looks alone; both sides need to do the hard work of positive identification, which involves looking at what someone is *doing* before engaging them with lethal force. Dynamic environment, fog of war, yeah, yeah, yeah –that’s why I said it’s hard (and potentially dangerous) work to do this right.

      But that’s what we pay them for, and give them special privileges & social prestige for. Even despite all this, there’s still lesser-paid and more-dangerous lines of work out there, that aren’t held in nearly as high regard.

  14. avatar Joseph says:

    This site has become Facebook on guns. Every “expert” on every subject resides right here on these pages. It’s amazing!

  15. avatar kap says:

    aw come on it was a bunch of miniature Aliens, who got away on a drone thingy using a suppressor on there anti- gun Gun, sprayed some human Adrenaline mist on their way out the ceiling roof vent!
    Silliness aside, I’m glad there were not more hurt that there were! its too bad they do not have public executions any more, as give them a trial if found guilty hang them from the ceiling rafters in the Gym.
    the problem with accountability is made harder because all concerned go into CYA mode!

  16. BART mall cop…In STEM school escapades!

  17. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I have no problem shooting a cop who in enters into an active shooting situation, when he does not identify himself. Just as a cop will step over the bleeding student who has been shot by the bad guy.

    The wounded are not the priority in a mass shooting. Stopping the shooter is.

    A want armed school staff. I totally support them. The cops had better get their act together. Because you can’t rely on the police. The cops need to take more training classes on self identification and marksmanship.

  18. avatar David Keith says:

    Why no metal detector and guard at entrance? Hard to take any of the dipshit schools seriously when they never institute any deterrents after a shooting. People aren’t going to want to give up AR’s in the first place and even less so when schools aren’t making any effort.

  19. avatar Sgt Slaughter says:

    Everybody’s a critic and an expert I see. Most of you have zero LE, tactical or military training let along real life experience. Did it ever occur to anyone that there may have been lack of communication between LE and the Security Guard? Incidents like these are chaotic and unscripted. It’s not TV. Anyone who’s been through active shooter training and or incidents knows this. The guard did his job, mistakes or not. Lives were saved. You’re losing focus that the people to blame are the suspects. If the administration of the school or LE knew about this brewing for awhile then shame on them too. But don’t rush to blame the guard for wrong doing. He’s a former cop and Marine. Get a grip people.

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