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In three days, he would have been a graduate, en route to study electrical engineering in college. He was funny, smart, and captivated by robotics, “…honestly the sweetest kid I ever met,” said a classmate. He was friendly and modest and his character is all about protecting and helping people. Even his father wasn’t surprised to learn that when a gunman burst through the door of his British literature class at the STEM School, in Denver, Colorado's Highlands Ranch, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo rushed the shooter, giving fellow students time to bolt for safety or take cover under desks.
"The best kid in the world,” said John Castillo of his only child.
Kendrick might have invented the robot capable of performing doctor-assisted surgeries in remote places. He might have figured out how to bring water to areas plagued by drought. He might have become a hero for correcting humanity’s current crash course with climate change. He had a his whole future ahead of him.
Now, he’s yet another victim in the epidemic of gun-violence gripping the USA.
Sadly, Kendrick isn’t the only selfless student hero, willing to face-down a school shooter this year. Another STEM senior, Brendan Bialy, was also a made a sudden hero on 8 May 2019 when he subdued one of the gunmen. And just last month at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 21-year-old student, Riley Howell, died while tackling a gunman, also buying his classmates crucial moments to escape.
The STEM School is located just 5 miles (8km) from Columbine High School, the site of one of the USA's most notorious shootings. That shooting took place 20 years ago. It should have been the last.
But school shootings in the USA continue. Why? How can the “greatest country on earth” tolerate #kidskillingkids? When will this nightmare end? RIP Kendrick Castillo. You will be missed.