Alec McKinney is the sixteen-year-old perpetrator of the 2019 STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting that occurred on May 7 in Douglas County, Colorado. McKinney, alongside accomplice Devon Erickson ultimately killed one student and injured eight others using stolen firearms. McKinney is a transgender male who endured bullying at school for his identity, which he stated as his motive for the attack.
Personal Life & Family
Alec McKinney is part of a family of five and has two younger siblings. Alec's father, Jose Evis Quintana, is an illegal immigrant who engaged in criminal behaviors and had been deported twice. Prior to the shooting, Evis had been sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of domestic violence against McKinney's mother, Morgan, along with charges of "menacing with a weapon". Jose was initially deported to Mexico in 2010 after marrying Morgan a year prior. After the two divorced in 2015, Jose illegally emigrated back to the United States in 2017. Eleven days before the attack at Highlands Ranch STEM School, Alec McKinney tweeted on social media about he missed his father and about how his mother did "not like the new Alec".
Alec McKinney had struggled with both suicidal and homicidal thoughts starting from the age of twelve. In addition to this, McKinney had initially planned to take his own life after the shooting but was barred from doing so when, during the attack, he was withheld by other students who had tried to stop the two perpetrators.
Alec's struggles with mental health was likely worsened due to bullying from other students. Alec reported that he was called "disgusting" by other students because of being transgender, which fueled him to carry out the attack.
McKinney's twitter also contained a number of concerning tweets pertaining to suicidal thoughts.
McKinney was an avid drug user and was addicted to substances including cocaine, marijuana, and Xanax. Alec's drug use was not revealed to his family until after the attack had commenced. They denied reports of him being a regular user of cocaine or Xanax, as it seemed out of his character. However, both Alec McKinney's ex-boyfriend and long-time friend insisted that Alec had kept his drug addiction hidden from his family, and that they [McKinney's friend and ex-boyfriend] had even thought of planning an intervention meeting to confront him. Alec confided in the friend, who he had known since middle school, that he had began taking drugs because his mother would not allow him to go on testosterone.
Relationship with Devon Erickson
Devon Erickson, who claims that McKinney forced him into co-perpetrating the attack, reported that he was recruited by McKinney via social media. The conversation began when Alec sent Erickson a Snapchat message warning him against going to school the following day. According to Erickson, Alec prompted him to assist in the preparation of the attack by performing tasks such as locking the doors and loading the guns.