GOLDEN, Colo. – The 2019 graduating class of electrical engineers at the Colorado School of Mines is honoring 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who was killed in the STEM School shooting this week, by wearing stickers bearing his name on their caps and gowns at graduation Friday.
Castillo was the lone student killed in Tuesday’s shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Eight others were shot and injured, and one of the victims remained hospitalized in fair condition Friday.
Castillo is one of the heroic students credited with rushing one of the shooters on Tuesday, perhaps preventing more injuries and possible deaths. Fellow students who joined him in doing so called Castillo a hero.
"He charged the shooter and was immediately on top of him," said Brendan Bialy, a senior at the STEM school who is joining the Marines. "He was ready to end the threat."
Friday would have been his last day of his senior year of high school. At STEM, Castillo was a member of the robotics team and was well-known to others as a promising young electrician who had plans to study electrical engineering.
“Kendrick was an absolute genius in the machine shop,” his former robotics coach, Ron Coffee, told Denver7 earlier this week. “You’d describe it and Kendrick would come back covered in saw dust holding not just the part, but three spare parts.”
Coffee’s son, who was a classmate of Castillo’s before he graduated from STEM in 2016, echoed similar sentiments.
“I was always struck with his humility and his quietness,” Zach Coffee said of Castillo. “[He] never needed to take credit for work, never needed the credit – never was doing it for the notoriety.”
“[Castillo] would be humbled to have us call him a hero. And I think it was part of what makes him a hero,” he added.
The School of Mines graduation ceremony got underway at 1 p.m. Friday.
“We hope to carry Kendrick across our stage and give him the opportunity that he so selflessly sacrificed so his friends could go home to their families,” said Peter Moschetti, a graduate researcher at the School of Mines’ electrical engineering department.