DENVER (AP) — A private security guard who officials say accidentally wounded a student during a Colorado school shooting that left one teen dead wasn’t supposed to be armed, an online news outlet reported.
Emails obtained by The Colorado Sun show the suburban Denver charter school had requested an unarmed guard from BOSS High Level Protection about a year ago.
In a statement, STEM School Highlands Ranch said it didn’t know the guard was armed until the shooting occurred May 7 on the campus that includes students from kindergarten through high school.
“While it is more common to have armed security personnel at high schools, it is uncommon at elementary schools,” the statement issued Monday said. “Given the diverse population at our school, we made the decision to request an unarmed guard in an effort to balance these different interests.”
Boss High Level Protection declined to comment to the newspaper. The company referred questions from The Associated Press to Chief Operating Officer Grant Whitus, who did not immediately return a call.
The company and its lawyer, Robert Burk, have previously credited the guard with preventing more casualties at the school.
The guard’s actions have been under review by a special prosecutor since the shooting.
Court records say the guard mistakenly fired two rounds at a sheriff’s deputy in the chaos and one bullet passed through a wall and hit a female student in a classroom. The guard later captured one of the shooting suspects.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, was killed in the shooting while trying to subdue one of the two teenagers charged in the attack.
The school had hired a private guard for the school year because of a dispute with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office over the duties of a previous dedicated school resource officer.
The school shared an officer with another nearby school and wanted the officer to focus more on traffic control and to mingle more with students, according to the sheriff’s office.
This school year, a resource officer from the sheriff’s office is assigned to the school, and it will also use private security, including off-duty police officers. The school declined to say whether its private security guards will be armed.
The school will not use BOSS because of the pending review, but the emails cited by the Sun show the school asked BOSS in July to recommend another company.