Celebrating Heroes

Hero Student Gives Life to Save Classmates from Gunman

Just days after Riley Howell, 21, gave his life tackling a gunman at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, another student bravely gave his life to protect his classmates. Kendrick Castillo lunged at a shooter targeting students at the STEM School Highland Ranch in Colorado, allowing other students to then subdue the perpetrator.

Kendrick’s dad, John Castillo, told the media: “I know that because of what he did, others are alive, and I thank God for that. I love him. And he is a hero and he always will be.”

Hero indeed. The 18-year-old student and his classmates were apparently watching “The Princess Bride” in a British literature class when a shooter pulled out a gun. The gunman then told the students not to move but Kendrick and three others tackled him while the rest of the students fled the classroom.

Reports indicate that Kendrick was one of the students closest to the shooter and that he immediately sprung into action. After the other students subdued the shooter, they tried to revive Kendrick but it was too late.

Kendrick was an only child and grew up speaking both English and Spanish. His grandfather had served with the U.S. Marines and Kendrick had grown up proud that his grandfather was a hero himself. Kendrick kept close the flag that once draped his grandfather’s casket.

Riley Howell, who similarly confronted a gunman in North Carolina, was recently laid to rest with military honors. Howell had knocked the gunman at UNC-Charlotte off his feet, allowing other students to flee. Police and security experts are now instructing people to fight back under the mantra “Run. Hide. Fight” as mass shootings become more common.

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Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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