When tragedy struck at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, Colorado, two brave students didn’t hesitate to step in to save their peers.
On May 7, a gunman entered 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo’s ninth period classroom. In an act of selfless heroism, Castillo gave his fellow students enough time to escape and take cover.
“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 out,” classmate Nui Giasolli told “Today.”
Castillo was assisted by Brendan Bialy, a senior who plans to join the Marines after graduation.
Although eight other students were injured, Castillo was the only fatality. He had been on track to graduate on May 20.
“Kendrick Castillo died a legend,” Bialy told KDVR. He said that Castillo was a close friend.
Following the horrible tragedy, Castillo’s family and community have hailed the boys as heroes. Castillo’s parents want everyone to be aware of how compassionate and selfless their son was in his everyday life.
“You’re not going to find a nicer kid,” Castillo’s father told KUSA. “Kendrick was a selfless individual and he cared about people, you know. That’s how he lived his life.”
Castillo is remembered as being a bright and positive role model invested in his school’s robotics team. Social media photos reveal that he was popular and well-liked among his peers.
His parents, although stricken with grief, were not surprised that their beloved son took action in the face of danger.
“My wife and I knew right away that it is something that he would do,” Castillo’s father said. “That’s a Kendrick thing. He would not let somebody get hurt.”
Bialy, who is scheduled to enter recruit training for the Marines this summer, told KDVR that he believes Castillo is a hero.
“He died a trooper. … I know he will be with me for the rest of my life,” Bialy said.
The boys’ classmates share this sentiment, praising Castillo and Bialy as heroes and thanking them for stepping in when it mattered most.
“To be some of the kids that were brave enough to bring him down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families,” Nui Giasolli told “Today.”
“They were very heroic. I can’t thank them enough.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Castillo’s family, friends and community as they seek peace after this shocking tragedy. He and Bialy will undoubtedly be forever revered as heroes who risked their lives to selflessly serve their classmates and community.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.