SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

This student died trying to stop the Colorado school shooter

Kendrick Castillo died when he lunged at the gunman during the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, giving other students enough time to hide. CNN's Scott McLean reports.

Posted: May 9, 2019 1:00 AM
Updated: May 9, 2019 1:00 AM

After a classmate pulled out a gun in class, Kendrick Castillo couldn't just stay still. He was surrounded by the friends he considered family and they were all in danger.

Kendrick died when he lunged at the shooter, giving other students at STEM School Highlands Ranch enough time to hide, his family and a classmate said.

"I know that because of what he did, others are alive, and I thank God for that. I love him. And he is a hero and he always will be," his dad, John Castillo, said.

"He just loved people that much."

The 18-year-old was watching "The Princess Bride" in his British literature class when the shooter pulled out a gun, demanding that nobody moved. After Kendrick lunged at the shooter, three other students also tackled the gunman and tried to subdue him while the rest of the class fled the room.

Kendrick was an only child, but his friends, including the members of the school's robotics team, were like his siblings, his father said. They would host holiday gift exchanges at his home, shared his toys as a child and would pay for a friend's movie tickets if someone didn't have money.

"Be selfless, that's what my son was, and it got him killed, but he saved others," Castillo said.

'He was extraordinary'

Kendrick grew up speaking English and Spanish in suburban Denver and first attended Catholic school. He would also spend time fishing and camping with his late grandfather -- who had been in the Marines.

"Kendrick was proud of him, proud that his grandfather was a hero," Castillo said. "Part of me knows that Kendrick wanted to live that legacy."

The teenager had kept the flag that once draped his grandfather's casket close to him and would pray and kiss his tombstone at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

"He loved the patriotism," Castillo said. "We are Hispanic by nature but we love America to the core."

Castillo and his wife Maria were not surprised to learn that their son ran toward danger. They raised him to be responsible and "to be good."

"This wasn't your average kid," Castillo said. "He was extraordinary."

He refused to be a victim

Kendrick was about a foot away from the shooter and he immediately sprang into action, said Brendan Bialy, one of other students who jumped the gunman.

"Kendrick Castillo died a legend. He died a trooper," Bialy said. "I know he will be with me for the rest of my life."

After Bialy was able to move the gun away from the shooter, he checked on Kendrick and tried to get him to talk, but he wasn't moving. He recalls helping a teacher who came into the room and tried to render medical aid.

Other students had tried to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to Kendrick's chest, Brendan's father told The New York Times.

"I refused to be a victim. Kendrick refused to be a victim. The other students refused to be a victim," he said.

They did exactly what they were supposed to do, according to experts. Where people were once advised to flee or shelter in place, the new mantra for surviving an active shooter situation is "run, hide, fight."

The moment they learned about their son's sacrifice

Shortly after the shooting, Castillo and his wife Maria were frantically trying to reach Kendrick on his cell phone. They initially thought their son might have been injured, but grew more concerned when he would not pick up their texts and calls.

"I was a little bit guilty, because as I was trying to call him, I thought, well, maybe this is the wrong thing? Maybe I am putting his life in jeopardy by having the phone ring," Castillo said. "My anxiety and the lump in my chest was growing."

One of Kendrick's friends sent Castillo a text saying Kendrick had rushed toward the shooter, but at the time, he didn't know what to think about it. They watched as other students exited the yellow school buses and reunited with their parents, "and we didn't have that," Castillo said.

"I couldn't believe this was happening to my son," Castillo said.

The couple learned Kendrick was killed when they went to the hospital looking for him and officials told them his body was still inside the classroom. As they waited to see their son, students would come up to them calling their son a hero.

As Castillo and his wife mourn their son, he said they wish for Kendrick's classmates to heal, go to college, get married and start their own families surrounded by love.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Strong to severe storms move through Sunday evening to early Monday morning. Showers and a few storms are likely on Monday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events