School Shooting Victim's Dad Told Him 'You Don't Have to Be a Hero' But Teen Died Being Exactly That
In his conversation with his father, Kendrick Castillo remained adamant about trying to engage a shooter if it ever came to that
One of the heroes of the STEM school shooting, Kendrick Castillo, who died protecting his fellow classmates after lunging at one of the gunmen, talked about the prospect of a school shooting with his father.
The 18-year-old's father, John Castillo, told NBC News on Wednesday he recalled a conversation he once had with his son where he advised the teenager, “You don't have to be the hero.”
But according to John, Kendrick remained adamant about trying to engage a shooter if it ever came to that.
The father said his late son responded, “‘You raised me this way. You raised me to be a good person. That's what I'm doing.'”
Tragically, the worst-case scenario John and his son had discussed became a horrifying reality on Tuesday when two gunmen opened fire at his Highlands Ranch, Colorado, school.
Brendan Bialy, who also rushed one of the shooters, told NBC Nightly News Kendrick heroically sprung into action, “He charged the shooter and was immediately on top of him, complete disregard for his own safety. He was immediately there to respond; he was immediately there on the shooter, and he was ready to end the threat.”
Another classmate of Castillo, Nui Giasolli, also told several outlets about the senior's actions after one of the shooters entered their classroom “telling nobody to move.”
“That's when 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 … across the room to escape,” Giasolli told the Today show on Wednesday.
“I think I wouldn't be standing here right now, I think I wouldn't be able to tell the stories for how brave Kendrick was, how brave Jackson and Lucas and everybody were because they made that choice to sacrifice themselves so that all of us could go home that night,” Giasolli added, discussing how fellow students Jackson Gregory and Lucas Albertoni, along with Castillo, probably saved her life.
On Wednesday, Douglas County Coroner Jill Roman identified Castillo as the sole fatality from the shooting, which also injured 8 others.
Five of the injured students have been released from the hospital. The other three remain in critical condition.
Police detained two suspected shooters shortly after arriving on scene at the school around 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
A motive for the violence is not yet known.