Colorado’s Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will lead its first ever procession for a civilian in honor of Kendrick Castillo, the heroic STEM School Highlands Ranch student who died while stopping a school shooter from murdering his classmates.
Castillo, 18, was shot and killed as he rushed towards 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 is also 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 at around 12:15 p.m. 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 of so-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, the father, described his son 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. The student was an only child.
“I just couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe this was happening to my son,” John 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 just turned and ran, retreated. You know, did something to put himself out of harm’s way, if that was possible.”
He added: “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 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.”
Hero student Kendrick Castillo’s parents say they’re not surprised he died trying to stop the Colorado school shooter.
“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 and he always will be.” https://t.co/PIqe5YiwdN pic.twitter.com/A3Hz4pX7nE
— CNN (@CNN) May 9, 2019