Anyone that has ever spent any significant amount of time at an off-road oriented event knows the sense of community that exists among most enthusiasts. Off-roaders are known to take care of each other in good times and bad. When someone breaks down or has an issue they will all step up to help solve the problem. Being from Toledo Ohio I may know better than most that Jeep owners embody that mindset in a big way.
That mindset was on full display as Jeep owners from across Colorado stepped up to honor a local student. Kendrick Castillo was killed on May 7, 2019 while saving the lives of fellow students and friends. The incident took place at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
When the Jeep centered club, Colorado Jeep Girls, heard about Kendrick’s heroic acts during the school shooting they put the word out. Kendrick Castillo was a fan of all things Jeep. He himself was a Jeep owner and spent some of his spare time working on both his and friends’ Jeeps. Given his exceptional behavior that terrible day it seemed appropriate that people step up and do the right thing for his final ride.
Once the word was put out on social media over eight hundred Jeep owners agreed to escort the family to the memorial service. The procession was also escorted by a full police motorcade. This represented the first time a formal police motorcade had ever been used to honor a civilian in Douglas County Colorado. This was done to honor the courageous life-saving act he committed by sacrificing himself.
For anyone not familiar on May 7, 2019, Kendrick and his fellow classmates were attending school at the Colorado STEM School. It was then that a classmate opened fire and Kendrick and other students rushed forward to stop the gunman. Kendrick was the first to lunge at the shooter and was the only student killed in the attack. The two gunmen injured eight other students that day.
Devon Erickson and Alec McKinney are currently in custody following the shooting. Both have been charged with a host of criminal offenses including murder and attempted murder. McKinney who is sixteen years of age will be tried as an adult. At this time there has been no specification if the death penalty will be pursued for either suspect.
While many of the details of the days and actions leading up to the attack are still emerging the actions of Kendrick appear to be very clear. When the gunman in his classroom opened fire he chose to lunge at him. He chose to not be a victim. Instead, he took action that no doubt resulted in fewer people being injured or potentially killed.
The selflessness of Castillo is a lesson for us all at a time when violence can occur anywhere. Kendrick made the conscious decision to help others instead of providing for his own safety. His actions will long be remembered and the benefits long enjoyed by those that he saved.