Kendrick Castillo spent his final moments on earth saving his classmates lives. The18-year-old senior died on Tuesday, May 7, after he lunged towards another student who opened fire in the classroom at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. Kendrick’s parents John and Maria Castillo tearfully remembered their son – who will forever be known as a hero to their community and the world. “I know that because of that he did, others are alive and I thank God for that,” Kendrick’s father John told CNN.
18-year-old Kendrick Castillo died saving the lives of his classmates
"I love him. And he’s a hero and he always will be. He just loved people that much.” The star student and robotics club member didn’t think twice about springing into action to keep his classmates out of danger, according to student who witnessed the incident. John and Maria learned about their son’s death when they arrived at the hospital, after they didn’t see him exit the series of yellow busses filled with students from the school. According to John, he and his wife were surrounded by friends and family – and students who came up to them and shared their son’s sacrifice.
“I refused to be a victim,” John said. “Kendrick refused to be a victim. The other students refused to be a victim.” The proud 18-year-old – who was their only child – was an advocate for patriotism and dreamed of carrying the legacy left behind by his grandfather who served in the Marines. “He loved patriotism,” John noted. “We are Hispanic by nature but we love America to the core.”
As the Castillo family mourn the loss of their son, they want to pass on this message to other families. “I want the world to know that he was a gift,” Kendrick’s father said. “If I had one thing to say. If you have children, nothing is more important than your kids.” Kendrick's heroic act is going further than his community. Celebrities such as Demi Lovato and Scooter Braun took to social media to mourn the high school student who put his life on the line for others.