biographical facts

Maya ‘Alec’ McKinney biography: 13 things about STEM School Highlands Ranch shooter

Maya 'Alec' McKinney

Maya ‘Alec’ McKinney

Maya “Alec” McKinney was a student at Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) School Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, United States. He was 16 years old when he killed a schoolmate.

McKinney is a transgender who uses male pronouns. Here are 13 more facts about him:

  1. He was born female in 2003 to Jose Louis Quintana of Mexico and Morgan McKinney of Castle Rock, Colorado. His mother claimed that his abusive father would beat her regularly in front of him and his siblings.
  2. In 2008, he went to therapy after his father was arrested for wielding a knife at his mother, according to Dr. Elizabeth Christiaens, an expert in clinical and forensic psychology who met with him for three to four sessions for over six hours total.
  3. In 2010, his father was deported after a conviction and 17-month sentence for domestic abuse and menacing.
  4. In 2015, he told a therapist that he felt overburdened and he started cutting himself on his arms, according to his mother.
  5. In 2016, he came out as a lesbian to his mother through a letter. His mother tried to be supportive but did not agree with his decision to cut his hair short and wear men’s clothes. In 2017, his mother started taking him to regular visits with a therapist.
  6. In 2018, he was hospitalized six times in seven months, mostly for self-harm, his mother claimed.
  7. In November 2018, a Safe2Tell report about him claimed that he joked about cutting himself and committing suicide, according to STEM School Highlands Ranch counselor Julie Wright. He spoke to the counselor about having a bad day but he appeared to be suicidal and he commented that he would do it if it could be done, according to the counselor, who subsequently notified the sheriff’s office. He was transferred to a hospital on a mental health hold but released and returned to school the next day.
  8. He and STEM School Highlands Ranch English teacher Dr. Gabriela Leddy, who was also a staff adviser to the LGBTQ support, bonded over their love of rock band Nirvana.
  9. On May 7, 2019, he opened fired at STEM School Highlands Ranch, killed his fellow student Kendrick Castillo, a robotics enthusiast born in 2001, and injured eight others including Mitchell Kraus and Jackson Gregory. Castillo is the son of John Castillo and Maria Castillo.
  10. He and his accomplice Devon Erickson, born in 2000, consumed cocaine and stole three handguns and a rifle belonging to the parents of the latter before the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting on May 7, 2019. On January 2, 2020, the accomplice pleaded not guilty claiming that the main culprit forced him to go through with the shooting.
  11. On December 4, 2019, Judge Jeffrey Holmes issued the decision that he will be tried as an adult. This was after hearing a week and two days of testimony from witnesses called by the prosecution and his defense.
  12. On February 7, 2020, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Kendrick, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after deliberation, six counts of attempted murder after deliberation, attempted murder extreme indifference, second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit arson conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, possession of a weapon on school grounds, possession of a handgun by a juvenile and two crime-of-violence sentence enhancers.
  13. On July 24, 2020, a judge sentenced him to life in prison plus an additional 38 years.

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