The student who died in Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch is being credited with helping save the lives of his classmates.
Douglas County Coroner Jill Roman has identified the victim as 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo.
“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.
A member of the school’s robotics club and a relentless tinkerer, Castillo had an infectious smile and gentle sense of humor, according to friends.
Cecilia Bedard, 19, had known Castillo since elementary school, and said he was always friendly, modest and excited to help people. He made a point of always joining his father at Knights of Columbus fundraisers and bingo nights.
“He was amazing,” Bedard said. “He was honestly the sweetest kid I ever met. Never said a mean joke.”
Castillo was fascinated by engineering and eager to help others, according to the chief executive officer of the manufacturing business where he worked part-time for the past 18 months.
Rachel Short of Bacara USA said Castillo started working at her company last year as an intern. She said he was such a terrific employee they offered him a part-time job.
Short said Castillo was funny and empathetic and loved helping people.
“To find he went down as a hero, I’m not surprised,” she said. “That’s exactly who Kendrick was.”
KDVR and the Associated Press contributed to this report.