A high school student who is joining Marine Corps after graduation helped to save the lives of his fellow students during Tuesday’s shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, according to his father.
Brendan Bialy’s father, Brad, told NBC News his son and other students tackled and disarmed one of the two shooters.
Brad Bialy said that as his son and two friends tried to take down one shooter, another student trying to save his classmates was shot in the chest.
Students tried to stop the bleeding until first responders arrived, he said, according to The New York Times.
“We are deeply saddened for the victims, families, friends, and community on this tragic day,” the Bialy family said in a statement issued by attorney Mark L. Bryant, NBC News reported. “We’d like to commend the immediate response of law enforcement and assure all we are strong with the love of our families, community, friends, and every one sending concern, wishes, and strength. We will persevere.”
Some reports indicated Brendan Bialy was among the eight students injured in the attack. As of early Wednesday, that was not confirmed.
Brendan, a senior, took the oath of enlistment to join the Marines last year, according to an Instagram post.
NBC News reported that Kendrick Castillo, 18, was killed in the shooting, based on information from his family. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Castillo was three days away from graduating, KKTV-TV reported.
Spurlock cited “very heroic things that took place” at the school Tuesday as at least one student sought to intervene, KMGH-TV reported.
Some reports indicated Castillo was among those who attacked the shooter. Officials were expected to release more details Wednesday about the attack and the students’ response.
Student Nui Giasolli thanked Bialy and other classmates during an appearance Wednesday on NBC’s “Today.”
Bialy and others gave “all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape,” she said.
Nui Giasolli, student inside Colorado STEM school during shooting, tearfully thanks the heroic students who brought down gunman so others could escape pic.twitter.com/2xm7g54dUc
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 8, 2019
The shooting took place shortly after 2 p.m. local time Tuesday. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said Devon Erickson, 18, is one suspect. CNN reported that the second shooting suspect taken into custody was a juvenile female. Initial reports said both shooters were male.
Brad Bialy said his son told him that two students entered the classroom his son was in and one pulled a gun from a guitar case.
Spurlock said the suspects, armed with a handgun and other weapons, confronted police but were not injured. At least two handguns were confiscated, Spurlock said.
“Our officers went in and engaged the suspects. We did struggle with the suspects to take them into custody,” he said, adding that a school security guard assisted police in taking the suspects into custody. Spurlock later said police did not exchange gunfire with the suspects.
Superintendent Thomas S. Tucker wrote to parents that STEM School Highlands Ranch, a public K-12 charter school, will be closed for the remainder of the week, USA Today reported.
A message from DCSD Superintendent Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D. pic.twitter.com/DuR8qFvJKe
— Douglas County School District (@dcsdk12) May 8, 2019
“This is a terrible event,” Spurlock said. “This is something that nobody wants to happen in their community.”
Seventh-grader Robert Helfer, 13, said he was in math class when the shooting started.
“Everyone thought it was a theater play at first,” he said, according to USA Today. “Then when we just started hearing banging and gunshots and cursing. There was a body by the door when the police officer came to get us.”
The school is about seven miles away from Columbine High School in Littleton, site of a 1999 shooting in which 12 students and a teacher were slain.
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