HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — The student who died in Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado has been identified and is being credited with helping save the lives of his classmates.
Douglas County Coroner Jill Roman has identified the deceased victim as 18-year-old Kendrick Ray Castillo. He was a senior at the school.
“Kendrick lunged at [the suspect], 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,” senior Nui Giasolli said in an interview Wednesday morning with NBC News.
Giasolli said it began when one of the suspects arrived late to class on Tuesday. “The next thing I know, he is pulling a gun and is telling nobody to move,” he told NBC News.
Castillo’s parents said his heroic actions were unsurprising.
“We’re not surprised because that was in his make up. You know, Kendrick was a giving kid. He would do something to save his friends if he knew he had to do it,” said his father, John Castillo.
“If he didn’t do it, what would this mess look like?” John Castillo said. “He gave up his life for others.”
Kendrick’s parents said their son and another student tackled one of the shooters. They were told Kendrick probably did not suffer, as his death was likely instant.
They said Kendrick planned to attend Arapahoe Community College.
“Life’s not fair, it’s dangerous.” John Castillo said. “My son paid the ultimate price.”
The Castillo parents said they have a message for the community.
“I want families to get back to being families and engage with their kids. You know, we did that successfully with our kid. We lost him because he was selfless and he gave up his life,” John Castillo said.
An 18-year-old man and a juvenile female, both students, are accused of going into the school through an entrance without metal detectors, then opening fire at two locations.
Castillo was killed and eight other students were wounded in the shooting on Tuesday afternoon. Three students remain hospitalized.
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – A high school senior who plans to join the Marines helped in subduing one of the shooters at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday.
The U.S. Marine Corps said Brendan Bialy is a poolee in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program.
“Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring,” the Marines said in a statement.
“His decisive actions resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates.”
Bialy joined the delayed entry program in July out of a recruiting substation in Parker. He is scheduled to go to recruit training in the summer.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — University of North Carolina Charlotte student and ROTC Cadet Riley Howell has been lauded as a hero after saving lives when he rushed toward the UNC Charlotte shooter Tuesday.
A new petition asks the White House to honor Howell’s sacrifice with a military burial.
The petition, directed at the White House, was created by someone identified only by the initials L.K. on Wednesday.
By 2:20 p.m. Thursday, the petition reached more than 3,600 signatures, but it’s still a long way from the 100,000 needed by May 31 to elicit a response from the White House.
The shooter rushed inside a classroom Tuesday and opened fired just as Howell and about 30 other students were listening to final presentations in an anthropology class.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney said 21-year-old Howell ran at the gunman and knocked him off his feet — something that eventually helped police arrest the suspect.
“He’s an athletically built young man and he took the fight to the assailant,” Putney said. “Unfortunately, he had to give his life to do so but he saved lives doing so.”
Howell’s aunt said she was not surprised when she learned of her nephew’s actions during the attack.
“He did such a heroic thing,” Moylan said. “He was everybody’s protector. You felt safe when you were with Riley.”
Howell grew up taking care of his three younger siblings on his family’s farm in Waynesville, North Carolina. He spent time working out with first responders and dreamed of serving in the military or firefighting.
In a statement, Howell’s family said he always stood up for what he believed and didn’t hesitate to help those in need.
“His faith was strong and he knew what he had to do when people needed him most,” the family said in a statement Wednesday. “He was always the guy you could count on and he delivered.”
His aunt said he had put off signing up for the military to go to college. After graduating from Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina, he briefly attended Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College before transferring to UNCC.
This was his first year at the university and, as were many other students, Howell was attending the term’s final day of classes on Tuesday.
Howell and 19-year-old Ellis Parlier, of Midland, were both killed in the shooting while four others were injured.
The university has identified the injured as Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia; Sean DeHart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19, of Apex, North Carolina and Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.