The senior class of the Highlands Ranch STEM school were only three days from graduation when two gunmen entered the school and opened fire. While terrified students sought cover, however, Kendrick Castillo charged forward, ultimately sacrificing his own life to subdue the assailant.
ABC News reports, the 18-year-old reacted to the shooting immediately and was able to pin the attacker to the wall before he was fatally shot. Castillo’s bravery inspired two other students to come forward as well and together they were able to disarm and subdue the gunman before any more were killed.
One of the two who ran to assist Castillo was Brendan Bialy, a U.S. Marine recruit. Bialy, who walked away unscathed described Castillo as an unstoppable bowling ball:
“Basically when he gets moving there’s no stopping him,” Bialy told Fox News, before adding, “I love that kid. He died a trooper. He got his ticket to Valhalla, and I know he will be with me for the rest of my life.”
Wednesday morning, John Castillo, Kendrick’s father, told the Denver Post:
“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,” Castillo continued, “but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.” “He was the best kid in the world,” his father added through tears.
By all accounts Kendrick had a bright future ahead of him. He was a lover of robotics, fishing, hunting, and automobiles. His close friend and fellow senior, Nui Giasolli, said their fathers are both Knights of Columbus and Kendrick would always tag along with his father to volunteer his time to the organization. After high school was over, it was Kendrick’s intention to join the Knights as a formal member.