Months after he helped subdue a school shooter, a heroic Colorado teen has officially graduated from Marine Corps boot camp, having distinguished himself as the platoon’s honor man.
In May, 18-year-old Brendan Bialy helped tackle and subdue one of two shooters at STEM School Highlands Ranch, a public charter school.
Bialy emerged practically unscathed from the attack, besides a handful of scrapes on his knee.
He jumped into action after his friend, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, charged at the shooter in order to bring him down. Castillo was killed in the shooting, and eight others were injured.
“Why in the world would I let this coward get what he wants? I’m not a victim,” Bialy has said, according to The Denver Post.
“I refuse to be a victim. Kendrick refused to be a victim.”
Both shooters, 18 and 16 respectively, were arrested.
A judge ruled last month that the 18-year-old can be tried on over 40 charges, including murder and attempted murder, according to Stars and Stripes.
“My thoughts on becoming a Marine were nothing but reinforced after the shooting,” Bialy said in a video statement.
“What I saw that day was complete and total malevolence, bad overcome by good.”
Bialy graduated from boot camp last month at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. During his basic training, he received a merit-based promotion to private first class, Stars and Stripes reported, citing a program for the graduation ceremony.
“I don’t like the idea of running and hiding,” Bialy told told reporters in May.
During his time in training, Bialy displayed qualities the Marine Corps tries to make sure its recruits have — “quick reaction, willingness to fight” — according to his drill instructor, Staff Sgt. Marcus Chestnut.
“I don’t think recruit training changed Bialy,” Chestnut said.
“He is who he was when he first got here. I think we just gave him some additional attributes that made him a stronger man and a basically trained Marine,” he continued.
STEM School Highlands Ranch is just eight miles from Columbine High School — the site of the infamous 1999 mass shooting in which 12 students and a teacher died.
Prior to the shooting at his school, Bialy said he wondered what he would do in such a scenario.
“Everybody hopes what they’re going to do … what I did,” he said. “I acted the way that I hoped [I would have] acted.”
“You love your child more than anything else in this world, but the same time, you understand what he has, you have to share,” Brendan Bialy father, Brad, said.
“All these Marines, they have to share what they have, because to keep it to themselves would be selfish. They understand that’s their duty.”
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