As America’s epidemic of mass shootings in schools continues unabated, so does the tragedy of young people making heroic sacrifices to save their classmates.

18-year-old Kendrick Castillo was fatally shot when tackling the perpetrator of a recent school shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Littleton, Colorado — just a short drive from Columbine High School and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where two other notorious mass shootings took place. According to USA Today, Castillo’s action allowed his fellow classmates in his British Literature class to have enough time to take cover and get out of the shooter’s path while he ran toward the gunman.

“[Kendrick] cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment,” his father, John Castillo, told the Denver Post. “I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

Castillo was due to graduate on Friday.

The 18-year-old’s death comes on the heels of the death of 21-year-old Riley Howell, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte student and ROTC cadet who sacrificed himself to save his fellow classmates when a shooting broke out in his classroom. Even though 19-year-old student Ellis Parlier was killed, and four others were injured, police said Howell “took the assailant off his feet,” which likely helped save lives in the moment the shooter was distracted by Howell’s actions.

Those two tragic deaths come roughly a year after Jason Seaman, a 30-year-old science teacher at Noblesville West Middle School, took three bullets while tackling a school shooter in his classroom.

America has been plagued by 115 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which counts any mass shooting as an event in which four or more people (not including the shooter) are either killed or injured by firearms.

(Grit Post does not publish the names or likenesses of mass shooters in order to deny them the notoriety they often seek in committing their crimes. We encourage other media outlets to do the same.)


Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.

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