DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn along with the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, a division of the Office of Justice Programs, today announced that $2,878,767 in funds from the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program has been awarded to the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice to assist victims of the 2019 shooting at STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
On May 7, 2019, one student was killed and eight others were injured when two students fired weapons in a Highlands Ranch classroom. At the time of the incident, there were 20 other students and a teacher in the classroom and many indirect victims, including the 1,827 students at the school, their families, 160 school staff members and law enforcement and emergency personnel who responded to the scene.
“An act of violence both calculated and senseless claimed an innocent young life and caused physical and emotional harm to many others,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “We continue to grieve with the family of Kendrick Castillo and offer our prayers and support to the students and faculty of the STEM School and to the entire community of Highlands Ranch.”
“Our hope is that these funds will help the victims of this senseless tragedy continue forward in their healing process,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “The Department of Justice and my office will never forget Kendrick, the STEM family, and the entire Highlands Ranch community.”
Funding will help the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice serve victims during the aftermath of this tragedy. Program funds will reimburse organizations for immediate, necessary services provided to the victims in the community and will provide ongoing trauma-informed, evidence-based healing and resiliency services to the students, families, employees and first responders. Services include meetings with a national school crisis and bereavement expert for students, parents and staff; STEM School Resiliency Center expenses, including mental health services and training for clinicians and a resiliency coordinator; supplemental victim compensation expenses; victim security at court proceedings; and mental health services for first responders.
“We mourn with those whose lives will forever be affected by this reprehensible crime,” said OVC Director Jessica E. Hart. “The disruption of so many young lives – and the horrific death of one child – continues to send ripples of sorrow through the Highlands Ranch community. There remains important work to be done and I hope this funding answers the call for assistance by the organizations that provided crisis response services in the immediate aftermath and that continue to serve the victims, their families, and the community.”
Since 1995, Office for Victims of Crime Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program grants have provided supplemental support to victims and jurisdictions that have experienced incidents of terrorism or mass violence. The funding comes from the Crime Victims Fund, financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders.