The 18-year-old man killed in the Colorado school shooting on May 7, Kendrick Castillo, was hailed as a hero by classmates who saw him trying to disarm one of the shooters.
Nui Giasolli said that she was in her British literature class at STEM School Highlands Ranch, a K-12 school outside of Denver, when Devon Erickson, another student, entered late.
He walked through one door into the classroom and walked to another door, opening it, Giasolli told NBC’s “Today” show. “He walked back as if he was going to go back to his seat then he walked back to the door and he closed it. And the next thing I know he’s pulling a gun and he’s telling nobody to move.”
“And that’s when 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.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 8, 2019
Castillo’s father John Castillo confirmed to the Denver Post on Wednesday that his son was the student who was killed.
“He was the best kid in the world,” Castillo said through tears, noting the coroner told him that his son was a hero and that the gunfire he took would have hurt other students.
“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,” Castillo said.
“I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”
Tuesday John Castillo lost his only child in Denver’s school shooting. Kendrick had 3 days left before graduation. Sources say he was killed after he & another boy charged the shooter. I wish he had gone & hid, his dad said. but that’s not his character. https://t.co/cKYe3oMNgF
— Esmeralda Bermudez ???? (@LATBermudez) May 8, 2019
This is 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo. He was the young man killed in the #STEMshooting yesterday.
We’re told he was passionate about technology, on the school’s robotics team, and set to graduate in just 3 days. Sending his family so much love during this time. ???????? @CBSDenver pic.twitter.com/QYalFnsCom
— Mekialaya White (@Mekialaya) May 8, 2019
Longtime friend Cece Bedard told the Post that he and Kendrick Castillo spent a lot of time at Knights of Columbus meetings in their childhood with their fathers.
“He told me he wanted to be a Knights of Columbus because he wanted to help not only people, but his community,” Bedard said. “He was the bravest soul I’ve ever met and never even cared what others thought because he was too busy finding ways to make you smile.”
After Castillo went down, several other male students tackled Erickson, holding him until police arrived, Giasolli told NBC.
“I want to thank Brendan Bialy, Jackson Gregory, and Lucas Albertoni, for being some of the kids who were brave enough to bring us down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families. They were very heroic.”
Bialy has signed up for the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, and his father told NBC he plans to join the U.S. Marines when he graduates.
“Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring,” the United States Marine Corps said in a statement to KDVR. “His decisive actions resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates.”