Several students walked out of a vigil meant for a classmate killed in a Colorado school shooting, saying the event became about politics.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, died after lunging toward one of the shooters at STEM School Highlands Ranch Tuesday. Eight other students were also hurt.
Students from the #STEMshooting in Colorado stormed out of a rally organized by gun-control advocates Wednesday night after growing angry about the politicization of their trauma. pic.twitter.com/uCLEqt89VY
— Trevor Hughes (@TrevorHughes) May 9, 2019
Students from Highlands Ranch HS hosted a community vigil in support of STEM students. A group of STEM students and other walked out of the event after a few voiced concerns about not being listed as speakers for the vigil program. #9News pic.twitter.com/3kA7bbnjAS
— Ama Arthur-Asmah (@Ama_A_Asmah) May 9, 2019
The gymnasium at Highlands Ranch High School was packed with students and community members for a candlelight vigil in honor of Castillo Wednesday. Gun control group Team Enough organized the vigil, according to KRDO.
“This was not a vigil, this was merely a political stunt,” one male student said, KRDO reported.
The state’s Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Democratic Rep. Jason Crow spoke at the event.
“We live in a great country, but we need to fix these broken gun laws,” Bennet said.
A Moms Demand Action volunteer also spoke at the event, saying she advocated for gun sense legislation and “working hard to elect gun sense candidates like Jason.”
“I am very disappointed to admit that all the generations before yours made this harder,” the woman said.
“We became paralyzed by the NRA [National Rifle Association], we did not hold our elected officials accountable.”
The male student clarified to the audience that students were not kicked out, but chose to leave the event.
“We didn’t want Kendrick to be a prop, we wanted Kendrick to be mourned,” the male student said, KRDO reported.
“We all walked out, we were not kicked out despite what you have heard, now we’re back to tell you that we love Kendrick and we love all of the survivors.”
Another female student said she was Castillo’s close friend and wanted to talk about him at the vigil.
“I just wanted to talk about him a little bit and everybody has been here talking about gun violence and avoiding the fact that he died,” the female student said, according to KRDO.
Douglas County School District Public Information Officer Paula Hans clarified to The Daily Caller News Foundation over email Thursday that they “did not organize any of the vigils held last night.”
Two suspects linked to the shooting are under investigation.
Team Enough and the NRA did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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