Thursday, September 28, 2006

Colorado school standoff ends with 2 dead

Unfortunately one was a student...

BAILEY, Colo. — For four hours, SWAT team officers had been shouting through a classroom door, trying to communicate with the unidentified man terrorizing Platte Canyon High School. The man had a gun. He said he had a bomb. He was holding two teenage girls hostage. And he was using at least one of the girls as a human shield.

The man had walked into the high school shortly before noon Monday and had swiftly taken six girls hostage. Over the next few hours, negotiators had some success defusing the crisis; the gunman had released four of the students, one by one.

The gunman threatened that "something dire" would happen at 4pm and by the time the four hostages were released it was 3:30. As the minutes passes and no progress was made with the gunman, Sheriff Fred Wegener ordered in the SWAT team which rescued one hostage, but not before the gunman shot the other, and then hiself.

I've heard the comparisons all morning to Columbine. This tragedy occured less than 40 miles from Columbine, at the local high school, and tragically a student died. But that's where the similarities end. This was not done by angry, outcast students but by an older man described to be at least 30 years old. Columbine was indiscriminate killing. This sicko held only a handful of girls hostage.

We need to wait for more info to come out, but can we please drop the Columbine comparisons?

UPDATE @ 1:50pm: More info on the shooter, Dwayne Morrison.

Authorities identify the gunman as Dwayne Morrison. They said he lived in his vehicle, and that he had no known connection to the area. They also said the gunman's assault on his hostages "was sexual in nature."

The final age of the sicko was 54 years old.

UPDATE @ 1:52pm: Another report goes with an alternate spelling, Duane Morrison, but has this picture of the killer which certainly appears to be a mug shot. Looks like the guy had a record.

UPDATE @ 1:58pm: Morrison's criminal record is reportedly "minor," nothing to indicate that he was this large a threat to the community. It does appear that he was living out of he car and had plenty of camping gear inside. Morrison was a former carpenter and had been steadily employed as such for years.