A security guard who accidentally injured two students while trying to stop a mass shooting at a school in a Denver suburb will not be criminally charged, but must complete community service, a special prosecutor said Friday.
“Although it was illegal for him to have a gun on the premises, our investigation has determined that his actions were in compliance with applicable law,” said Lee Richards, spokeswoman for special prosecutor Dan May, who investigated the actions of guard Shamson Sundara.
On May 7, 2019, two teenagers brought firearms to the STEM School Highlands Ranch and opened fire, killing one student and eight other people.
Sundara, a security guard hired by the school, responded to the shooting by detaining and disarming one of the alleged shooters in a school hallway, “possibly preventing further injury and loss of life,” Richards said.
After stopping the suspect, Sundara saw a person in street clothes round the corner and then saw the muzzle of a gun, Richards said.
“Sundara fired two shots in the direction of the gun,” Richards said. “Although both shots missed the subject, who turned out to be a law enforcement officer, they went through the wall of a classroom where students were gathered. “Two students were struck, sustaining non-life threatening injuries.”
The officer Sundara fired at wasn’t hit by gunfire.
The case against the suspected shooters is pending, but the investigation into Sundara’s actions concluded with an agreement reached in consultation with the injured students, their families, law enforcement and the Douglas County School District.
Sundara, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, won’t be charged because under Colorado law, “deadly physical force may be used” if a person believes they are in imminent danger of being killed or injured, Richards said.
Under the agreement, Sundara will enter a program that includes participating in a forum with the victims and complete 50 hours of community service, she said. Once he completes all of the elements of the program, his case will be closed, Richards said.
Sundara was promoted by his employer, BOSS High Level Protection, after the shooting, said Grant Whitus, the company’s chief operating officer.
“I’ve been through two school shootings and I understand how difficult they are,” Whitus said. “We stand behind him 100%.”
Whitus said Sundara is unable to make any public statements because he’s a “key witness” in the criminal case against the two alleged shooters.
“There was a huge outcry by parents after the shooting,” Whitus said. “They believed in him. They understood what he did. We treat him as a hero and some day everyone else will when the facts come out.”