U.S.

Kendrick Castillo: Hero's Procession for Student Who Died Taking Down STEM School Shooter

Colorado's Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will lead its first-ever procession for a civilian to  honor Kendrick Castillo, the heroic STEM School Highlands Ranch student who died while stopping a school shooter from killing his classmates.  

Castillo, 18, was fatally shot as he rushed toward the gunman and tackled him during a British literature class on May 7, in an act that likely saved the lives of many others.

Several other students then followed Castillo and subdued the suspect, Devon Erickson, 18, who was a student at the school. Erickson is now in custody facing multiple charges, along with a second student, 16, who was involved in the shooting, which injured several others.

On Wednesday, there will be a service celebrating Castillo’s life at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch shortly after noon. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office will lead a procession of 30 motorcycle officers from the Denver area to the church before the service.  

“We wanted to honor the Castillo family and honor Kendrick,” Chris Washburn, patrol administrative lieutenant for the sheriff's office, told KDVR.

“He’s a high school kid that didn’t think about his own safety but thought about the safety of his classmates and took some action. It’s horrific that that cost him his life, but he’s truly a hero in our eyes.”

There will also be dozens if not hundreds of jeeps joining the procession in honor of Castillo, who was a fan of the vehicle. The jeep procession was organized by a Colorado group called Jeepers, and has the consent of the Castillo family, KDVR reported.

There is a Wells Fargo Kendrick Castillo Memorial Fund to support the young student’s family in the wake of his death.

John Castillo, Kendrick's father, described his son, who was an only child, as a hero and a patriot who was proud of his late U.S. Marine grandfather and wanted to emulate that service in his own life.

“I just couldn't believe it, couldn't believe this was happening to my son,” Castillo told CNN after the shooting.

“One of the kids told me that, like a flash, he jumped out. She said, you know, 'He's a hero, he saved me.' Said he jumped up and he ran.' Said you couldn't even see how fast he was running, you know, out the door and after this person.”

Castillo, who coaches the school’s robotics team, said his son’s actions didn’t surprise him because he and the boy’s mother raised him to be good.

“I know that because of what he did, others are alive, and I thank God for that. I love him and he's a hero. He always will be,” he told CNN. “But there's another part of you that wishes he had just turned and ran, retreated. Did something to put himself out of harm's way, if that was possible.

“In hindsight, I wouldn't have it any other way,” he said. “I knew that Kendrick, there's no way he would have traded any of that. He's that kind of hero, you know, and I'm glad. Those kids, when I looked around that room last night at the hospital, they were shaken to the core, but they weren't harmed.”

Kendrick Castillo Kendrick Castillo, the hero student who died taking down a school shooter at Colorado's STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office/Castillo family

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