Gunmen Kills One at STEM School Highlands Ranch

(Photo: Charles Burroughs)

(Photo: Charles Burroughs)

Safa Hameed

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It seems as if nowadays feeling safe in your own classroom has become a privilege and not a basic inherent right. On May 7, a shooter opened fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, killing one person and injuring eight.

The shooting lasted for a total of fourteen minutes, before first responders, including SWAT units, arrived. There are two known suspects who have already appeared in court: Devon Erickson and Alec McKinney. Both are students, ages eighteen and sixteen, respectively. Erickson was a known bully in the school, and made jokes about school shootings. One student stated, in an interview with Today, that “[He] would whisper, like get really close and kinda put his arm around you, and whisper in your ear, ‘don’t come to school tomorrow’”.

The eight injured have all left critical state and are either now in much better condition or have been discharged from the hospital. The life that was taken was that of an eighteen-year-old student named Kendrick Castillo. Castillo died after he tackled the gunmen (it is unclear which of the two he tackled), with the help of three other students, allowing for the rest of his class to escape. Castillo was shot in the chest, and one of his fellow students, who also help tackle the gunman, Brendan Bialy, tried to help by applying pressure. Bialy recalled saying “Kendrick Castillo died a legend. He died a trooper. I know he will be with me for the rest of my life.” Castillo’s parents learned of his death only after they arrived at the hospital and were informed that his body remained at the school untouched.

This news is even more shocking, as this mass shooting is one of three shootings that have occurred within an eleven day time frame of each other. All three shootings have involved people who sacrificed themselves and stood in the way of the gunman, in order to save their peers; Kendrick Castillo, 18, of the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting, Lori Kaye, 60, of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting, and Riley Howell, 21, of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte shooting. All three have been declared heroes and are never to be forgotten.