Denver Community Gather to Honor Kendrick Castillo

“He was a gift

Photo: Unsplash/@carolineattwood

Photo: Unsplash/@carolineattwood

“He was a gift.”

Those are the words of Kendrick Castillo’s dad, John Castillo, who shared thoughts about his son in a heartbreaking interview with CNN. John said that when he first heard about the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch that occurred there on May 7, he thought his son was going to be okay.

On Tuesday, two individuals believed to be students (a male and female) walked into the school located in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, and opened fire. One of the shooters entered Kendrick’s classroom, and the 18-year-old lunged at the shooter in an attempt to stop them. Unfortunately, the shooter still fatally shot  Kendrick — but for the good fortune of others, no one else died. Eight students were injured and sent to the hospital.

Last night, thousands of people gathered to remember and honor Kendrick at a vigil held at his school and at Andrew United Methodist Church. However, according to media reports, the vigil ended up being disrupted by a protest at the school. The Denver Post reports that students there protested against the media and two politicians that spoke at the event. According to the Post, Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Michael Bennet and Congressman Jason Crow spoke at the gathering.

A couple of days since the shooting, Kendrick’s dad recalls how he first heard about his son and his actions. John, who works with the students as coach of the school’s robotics team, told CNN that Kendrick’s classmates text him and said that Kendrick rushed the shooter. They said like Kendrick, without thinking twice, he jumped like a flash and ran fast toward the shooter. His parents are not surprised by his actions.

It was immediate, nonhesitation, immediate jump into action,” Brenden Bialy, Kendrick’s classmate said to CNN. “The gunman was there, and then he was against the wall and didn’t know what the hell hit him.”
Kendrick died at school. John said that they wanted to see him. They wanted to hold their child one last time but weren’t able to because it was still the scene of a crime. While he wishes his son would have hidden from the gunman, they understand it wasn’t in his nature to hide.

“We raised him that way, to be good,” John said. “Because of what he did others are alive.”

John said he wants parents to teach their kids to be selfless,

“We taught him to share and to serve,” he adds, “if you have children, nothing is more important than your kids.”

Both suspects in the shooting are in police custody.

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