Colorado school shooting victim died a hero days before graduating from high school


  • The student who was killed during Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado has been identified as Kendrick Castillo.
  • The 18-year-old was shot when he lunged at one of the gunmen, allowing his classmates to escape.
  • Castillo, who died three days before he was to graduate high school, was an only child and that he was about to enroll in Arapahoe Community College to study engineering, his father said.

Kendrick Castillo was the only person killed during Tuesday’s shooting at Stem School Highlands Ranch, a K-12 charter school outside Denver, Colorado.

The 18-year-old tackled one of the shooters, according to witness Nui Giasolli.

 “Kendrick lunged at him, and he shot Kendrick giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe and to run across the room to escape,” Giasolli told NBC’s Today Show.

She added that there were other students who helped Castillo tackle the suspects.

“I can’t thank them enough,” she said.

Castillo was an avid member of the school’s robotics team, his classmates said. He was also described as someone who liked fishing, hunting and cars. The senior had only three days of school left before graduation.

“He was the best kid in the world,” his father, John Castillo told the Denver Post.

When he learned about his son’s heroism, he said, “It doesn’t surprise me. He cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment.

“I wish he had gone and hid,” he said, speaking through tears. “but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

The grieving father confirmed that Kendrick was their only child and that he was about to enroll in Arapahoe Community College to study engineering.

“My wife and I are in a haze,” he added. “He was everything to us.”

On Wednesday, one of the suspects, 18-year-old Devon Erickson, made his first court appearance. His head was bowed during much of the proceedings, covering his eyes. Sitting in a courtroom beside his two defense lawyers, Erickson was shackled at the waist with his hands cuffed.

The other suspect is a female juvenile identified as 16-year-old Maya McKinney, who appeared before the judge afterwards. According to her attorney, McKinney uses male pronouns and the name Alec.

According to District Attorney George Brauchler, there’s no decision yet whether adult charges will be filed against McKinney, but added that she was old enough to be charged as an adult without a judge’s review.

This attack took place about eight miles from Columbine High School, where 13 people died in a shooting approximately 20 years ago.


Source: The Guardian

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