By CATHERINE TSAI
Associated Press Writer
BAILEY, Colo. (AP) - The gunman who took six girls hostage in a high school classroom, killing one, had sexually assaulted at least some of them, the sheriff said Thursday.
"He did traumatize and assault our children," Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener said. "I'll only say that it's sexual in nature."
Wegener identified the suspect as Duane R. Morrison, 53, of the Denver area. He said Morrison had been living in his vehicle. Investigators had not established any previous connection between him and the hostages.
Authorities said Morrison had let four of the hostages go before a SWAT team stormed the Platte Canyon High School classroom where he had been cornered Wednesday.
The gunman fatally wounded one of the girls and killed himself as the deputies charged in. The other girl escaped.
The victim was identified by acquaintances and a co-worker as 16-year-old Emily Keyes, shown in a yearbook photo as a smiling blonde who played volleyball and was on the high school debate team.
She was pronounced dead at a Denver hospital after Wednesday's standoff, which reminded many people of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High, less than an hour's drive away.
"This is something that has changed my school, changed my community," Wegener said. "My small county's gone."