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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Two Dead in Colorado School Shooting

    On September 27, in Bailey, Colorado, two lives were taken during an armed assault on a high school. A gunman walked into Platte Canyon High School where he took a number of hostages into a classroom, later shooting one and claiming his own life when the police stormed in, ending a three hour standoff. The hostage, 16 year old Emily Keyes, later died in the local hospital.

    The gunman, Duane Morrison, 53, initially selected six girls as hostages, favoring blondes, and took them into a second story classroom where he sexually assaulted them. Later, he released four of the girls, keeping the other two. Soon after, he cut off all contact with police and warned that ‘something would happen at four o’clock’.

    Morrison was a petty criminal who had an address in Denver, Colorado, but had been living out of his tattered Jeep when he started his assault on this small high school.

    A half hour before the deadline set by Morrison, police used explosives and blew a hole in the classroom wall, but could not get a clear shot. They then blew the door off its hinges to get inside, said Lance Clem, spokesmen for the state department of public safety according to CBS News.

    As the SWAT team blew the door off, Morrison fired at the SWAT team and shot Keyes in the back of the head as she tried to run away. He then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. During this fast confrontation, police said SWAT shot Morrison several times.

    Although the police would rather have found another option, Sherriff Fred Wegener defended their decision to take Morrison by force.

    According to CBS News, Wegener said, ‘My decision was to either wait, with the possibility of having two dead hostages, or act to try and save what I feared he would do to them. We have confirmed he did traumatize and assault our children. … This is why I made the decision I did. We had to go try and save them.’

    Keyes’s father was among the many anxious parents waiting outside the building when the SWAT team stormed in, said Louis Gonzalez, a spokesmen for the Keyes family.

    Among other questions, many people are asking how a guy like Morrison could get into the school and wander around unchallenged.

    ‘I just saw him and I was like, ‘I’m staying away from him, he’s weird,” Said sophomore Billy Twyford according to CBS News.

    Authorities later stated that there was no known connection between Morrison and the hostages or anyone else in the high school or in the mountain town of 3,500.

    After the attack, residents gathered at the Platte Canyon Christian Church for support and at the Cutthroat Caf’eacute;, where Keyes’s had a job.

    ‘It’s very sad here. You know, the family lost their daughter, but as a community, we lost a child,’ stated Bobbi Sterling, a waitress and cook according to CBS News. ‘We’re just sitting here, numb and in shock. We’re all just kind of stunned.’

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