When John Castillo heard his son, the sole person killed in last week’s Colorado school shooting, had charged at one of the shooters in an effort to stop the attack, he wasn’t the least bit surprised.
It was an act of the same bravery and selflessness that the young man carried with him throughout his life, said John and many others at Kendrick Castillo’s funeral on Wednesday.
“We had so much love for Kendrick. It’s no secret to us that Kendrick did what he had to do,” John Castillo, his father, said.
“I’ve always known he was a gift and a hero. He was filled up with the good stuff.”
Witnesses said Castillo and two others were able to disarm one of the gunmen in the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch that left Castillo dead and eight others injured on May 7. Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16 — who was charged as an adult — face 48 criminal charges, including first-degree murder, arson and theft in the shooting.
Both teens were arrested on May 7 immediately after the attack. Officials have not yet made clear a motive.
Family and friends at Castillo’s memorial took the opportunity to honor his short life and cherish the lasting memories he left behind.
His best friend, Jordon Monk, called Castillo his “partner-in-crime and best friend.”
“I had figured we’d get along just fine as lab partners, but I had no idea he’d have such a profound impact on my life.”
Lauren Harper, a teacher at the STEM school, encouraged mourners to remember him for his dedication “to serving and bringing joy to others.”
“Kendrick taught others what it means to lead a life full of joy,” she said.
A Jeep procession, an ode to Castillo’s favorite car, preceded the teen’s funeral at the Cherry Hills Community Church.
Around 240 Jeeps had participated in the procession by the time his memorial began at 1 p.m. local time. Another 400 or so were expected to come through by the end of the day.
Towards the end of John Castillo’s heartfelt speech to his son, he left those in the audience with a message he hoped they would carry with them.
“We all really loved Kendrick, but to carry his life’s message we need to be more like him. That’s what this world needs for change.”
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