Colo. School Attack 'Sexual in Nature'

The Associated Press
Thursday, September 28, 2006; 6:18 PM

BAILEY, Colo. -- The gunman who killed himself after fatally shooting one of six girls he held in a high school classroom methodically selected his hostages and had sexually assaulted some of them, the sheriff and a witness 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, and said was he from the Denver area but had been living in his car. He said investigators had not established any previous connection between him and the hostages.

State records showed he was arrested in July in the west Denver suburb of Lakewood on a charge of obstructing police in another suburb. He was also arrested for larceny and marijuana possession in 1973.

Reached at their home in Tulsa, Okla., Morrison's stepmother said she and her husband, Bob Morrison, "have no record of him being, having any trouble before."

"We just know the way he was raised," Billie Morrison said, declining to elaborate. She said the last time she saw him was three to four years ago.

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," said Wegener, a 36-year resident of Bailey. "My small county's gone."

Wegener said Morrison made few demands. "Most of the demands were, 'Leave me alone, get out of here,'" he said.

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