Police: Colorado Gunman Sexually Assaulted Student Hostages

DENVER –  The Sept. 27 Colorado high school hostage crisis ended when SWAT team members stormed the classroom after it was determined the gunman had been molesting the female students he was holding captive.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, Duane R. Morrison, 53, intruded into a classroom of Platte Canyon High School in the tiny mountain town of Bailey, Colo., and fired a warning shot. He lined up the students against the chalkboard but soon told the male students to leave. The gunman then barricaded himself in the room with the six remaining girls. He then let four of the female hostages go one by one.

There was a four-hour standoff, but the decision was made for the SWAT team to storm the building after officials received information that the hostages were being sexually assaulted by Morrison. Additionally, the suspect had cut off all negotiations, indicating something would happen at four o’clock.

According to authorities, as the SWAT team entered the classroom, Morrison shot at police. Then, as one of his last two victims, Emily Keyes, 16, attempted to flee, he shot her in the head. Morrison then turned the gun on himself.

The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene, while Keyes later died in the hospital. The remaining hostage was not seriously injured.

According to police, Morrison was living in his car and was wanted for some minor crimes.

During the ordeal, students from both the high school and the adjacent middle school were evacuated. Additionally, the highways leading into town were closed. School has been canceled for the rest of the week.

Read More Articles Like This… With A FREE Subscription

Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

Get your free subscription today!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety ConferenceCampus Safety HQ