Hero teen tackled school shooter
The student who was killed when two shooters opened fire at his school has been hailed a hero after it was revealed he spent his final moments trying to save his classmates.
Kendrick Castillo didn't hesitate to try and protect his friends when an armed student burst into his class at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado.
Instead of running away when the attacker opened fire, the 18-year-old ran towards him, pinning him to the wall and allowing his classmates enough time to escape or hide.
Tragically, Mr Castillo's act of bravery meant he was fatally shot.
The accused shooter, Devon Erickson, reportedly spoke to the teacher then walked back and forth from the door a few times before pulling out a gun.
"That's when Kendrick lunged at him, and he shot Kendrick," Ms Giasolli said.
"(It gave) us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe and to run across the room to escape."
She revealed three other students also rushed at the gunman, with one wrestling the gun from the shooter's hand and the others helping to subdue him.
"They were very heroic. I can't thank them enough," Ms Giasolli said.
As students were subduing the first attacker, the second shooter was captured by an armed security guard.
Authorities said these acts of bravery helped minimise the bloodshed from Tuesday's attack, which also wounded eight people.
VICTIM VOWED TO PROTECT OTHERS
The alleged attackers were identified by law-enforcement officials as 18-year-old Erickson and a 16-year-old who prosecutors identified as Maya McKinney but whose lawyer said uses male pronouns and the name Alec.
The two allegedly walked into the STEM School Highlands Ranch through an entrance without metal detectors and opened fire in two classrooms.
Mr Castillo sprang into action against the shooter "and immediately was on top of him with complete disregard for his own safety," said Brendan Bialy, a close friend of Mr Castillo's.
His dad, John Castillo, recounted the horrific moments of hearing about the attack and trying to text and FaceTime his son but getting no response.
"I couldn't believe it - couldn't believe this was happening to my son," he said.
"I know that because of what he did others are alive, and I thank God for that. I love him. And he is a hero and he always will be.
"Be selfless, that's what my son was, and it got him killed, but he saved others."
John told NBC he had previously told Kendrick he didn't "have to be the hero" in the event of a school shooting.
But his son insisted he would do everything he could to protect others.
"You raised me this way. You raised me to be a good person. That's what I'm doing," his dad recalled him saying.
His friends described the teen as having an infectious smile and a gentle sense of humour.
He was a member of the school robotics club and worked part-time at a local manufacturing company that had offered him a job after an internship because he was such a standout employee.
"To find he went down as a hero, I'm not surprised. That's exactly who Kendrick was," said Rachel Short, president of the company, Baccara.
Kendrick was just days away from graduating when he was killed.
SUSPECTS FACE COURT
Erickson made his first court appearance on Wednesday and kept his head down.
His black hair, streaked with purple dye, covered his face as he nodded in response to most of District Court Judge Theresa Slade's questions.
At one point, the judge requested a verbal answer to whether he had any questions about the proceedings.
Erickson simply replied, "No."
McKinney, who has a short brown haircut, made eye contact with the judge and answered questions in a clear but quiet voice, saying, "Yes, your honour" and "No, your honour."
District lawyer George Brauchler said he has not decided whether to file adult charges but added McKinney was old enough to be charged as an adult without a judge's review.
Formal charges were expected to be filed by Friday. Mr Brauchler said he could not discuss any motive or weapons used in the attack.
Josh Dutton, 18, said he was close friends with Erickson in middle school but had not seen him for four years while attending a different high school.
On Sunday, he spotted Erickson at a local light rail station and said he was shocked at how much his friend had changed.
Erickson wore all black and was significantly thinner and did not seem interested in talking.
"He said he'd just turned 18, and he owned rifles," Mr Dutton said.