Rachel Heath

Intentional Living: learning to be fully present

yet another school shooting tragedy in my hometown

My heart aches today. I have family outside of Castle Rock, fairly near to Bailey. Emily Keyes, the girl who was shot and killed at Platte Canyon High School, in Bailey, was a friend of my cousin. If you don’t know about what happened, get out from under your rock and go today to Fox31.com, CNN.com or any other news source- I can almost guarantee it will be the main headline. This is going to go down in history just like Columbine, which was not long ago nor far from the site of the current tragedy.

53 year old Duane Morrison walked into Platte Canyon High yesterday, dressed like any regular high school student and carrying a backpack that he claimed held a bomb. He entered a classroom on the 2nd floor, lined the kids up against the wall, and hand picked who would stay and who would leave. He selected only girls to remain. He then kept them hostage for 3 hours, apparently sexually assaulted them, and eventually let 4 of them go, one by one. The SWAT team was forced to enter the room because of a mysterious 4 o’clock deadline given by the gunman, along with hearing the remaining 2 hostages screaming. The gunman used Emily as a human sheild and shot her when she tried to get away. Then he shot himself. We come to find out that the only thing in his backpack was a collection of “sexual aides”.

What happened in that classroom? Why did it go on for so long? What did the negotiations sound like? What makes a man reach the point of sickness that he would do this? Who would have ever expected this in a small mountain town, at a tiny high school? My heart just breaks for Emily, for her family, for each of those girls that were held against their will, for the school, for the community. It’s so close to home- the second time in a decade that something like this has happened in a Denver area school.

This tragedy is unfathomable. I realized- that could have been my cousin. That could have been my sister. It’s just too much to think about- I’m so thankful for my loved ones. I’m somber today as the details of this sad situation continue to unfold. Please focus your prayers towards the Keyes family and the other victims.


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2 thoughts on “yet another school shooting tragedy in my hometown

  1. How are you and your family doing? My Bible study prayed specifically for your community and for the others that have been going through similar tragedies recently.I hope that y’all will be able to find some comfort during all of this.

  2. I think the reality of these situations is in the back of my mind. Am I fully prepared? Probably not. I had a scare my 2nd year of teaching and our school went on lock down before school even started. I had two teachers locked in a room with me with the lights out, hiding behind a desk, and a cell phone with us. The students that had already arrived that morning, were locked in the gym. I had thought about lock downs with kids in the room. I never had a large number of kids at any given time, so my plan was to shut off lights and get the kids hidden and out of direct view of the windows. Prayer may not be allowed in schools, but I prayed every morning driving to school, once I arrived, and to myself in the midst of heated situations.

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