One student was killed and seven others were injured Tuesday when two classmates began shooting inside a STEM school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, authorities said.
The events of the day at the suburban Denver school were at the top of mind for Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who opened his pregame press conference with lengthy remarks regarding America's latest school shooting.
"I know thoughts and prayers are never enough, but… From myself, our team, our organization, our thoughts and prayers for all those families, students, school administrators, everybody that was there today, it's a tragedy," Malone, a member of the Highlands Ranch community, said.
Malone, who said he lives two minutes from the school, offered a thank you to all the first responders before expressing his frustration.
"It's a shame. My girls (who attend another Highlands Ranch school) have been in a lockout twice in the last month. I'm not a politician, I don't have the answers, but something must change. I just wanted to make sure I acknowledged what happened today in my backyard, and all those families are on my mind.
Michael Malone says he lives about two minutes from the school. Says he found out about it because he got a call from his wife. pic.twitter.com/oNRAzQwbIz
"It's not just Highlands Ranch, it's not just Colorado. This is an epidemic. And it continues to happen, and that's the frustrating thing. How do you stop it? Gun control? Laws? I'm not a politician. I don't want to sit up here on a soapbox. I just want everybody back in Highlands Ranch to know we're with you.
"We're all part of it. We all have families, we all have kids. Nieces, nephews, whatever it is. It's just frustrating and it gets you angry because it hits home. And that's how I felt today."
Michael Malone’s comments on today’s shooting. He has two daughters who don’t go to the school but Malone and his family live two minutes away from STEM. "I’m not a politician, I don’t have all the answers but something has to change." pic.twitter.com/D9Jek0Evc7
"I'm texting my daughter telling her she's going to be OK. I don't even know if she will be OK. This is every parent's worst nightmare. And it's something that when you see your kids go to school in the morning, it's 'have a great day.' You just assume everything is going to be all right. And as we all know, it's not."
Malone said that while he will be coaching with a heavy heart, he owes it to the players, organization and fans to be prepared like normal.
"We have a job to do. These are scary times for everybody. You have to find a way to be mentally tough and get through it," Malone said.
Tuesday night's game is especially big for Malone's Nuggets. Their second-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers is tied 2-2. The Nuggets are attempting to reach the conference final for the first time in a decade.
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