Colorado School Shooter Shuts Classroom Door and Pulls Gun—Then Teen “Lunges” at Him, Sacrificing Himself for His Friends

kendrick castillo

Eighteen-year-old Kendrick Castillo died a hero on Tuesday after lunging at one of the shooters who attacked STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

His brave effort to save his surrounding classmates is a moment that is burned in the hearts and minds of those who were in that 9th-period classroom, fortunate enough to escape harm.

STEM student Nui Giasolli recalled the horrific events of yesterday’s shooting to TODAY, detailing Kendrick’s final act of courage:

“The shooter came in late. He walked to the other side of the classroom where we also had another door, and he opened the door. He walked back as if he was gonna go back to his seat. Then he walked back to the door and he closed it. The next thing I know he’s pulling a gun and he’s telling nobody to move, and 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 across the room to escape.”

Giasolli also thanked three other courageous young men for their contributions to taking down the gunman.

“I want to thank Brendan Bialy, Jackson Gregory, and Lucas Albertoni to be some of the kids that were brave enough to bring him down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families,” she said through tear-stained eyes.

“They were very heroic,” added Giasolli. “I can’t thank them enough.”

Kendrick was an award-winning, four-year member of STEM’s robotics team who had already held several technology internships at his young age. He was set to finish school in only three days.

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Despite the 18-year-old senior’s tech genius and impressive academic contributions to the school, he will most be remembered as the young hero who selflessly died laying down his life for others.

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Kendrick was the sole fatality of the tragic shooting that shook Colorado, and he’s being praised across social media today by peers and the public alike.

“This is Kendrick Castillo. Today during the shooting at STEM Highlands Ranch, he tackled one of the shooters and was shot,” wrote one Twitter user in tribute to the fallen hero. “He went to the hospital where he tragically passed away. He saved the lives of many other students. He deserves to be remembered as a hero. Know his name.”

At a press conference held this morning, Sheriff Spurlock did not disclose names of the students who thwarted the shooters’ killing spree, but said, “We are going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school.”

Indeed, we have.

Please join us in praying for the family and friends of Kendrick Castillo, as they mourn the loss of a brave soul taken too soon. May he be remembered fondly for laying down his life for his friends.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

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Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.