HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Friends of the student who lost his life in Tuesday’s school shooting in Highlands Ranch say he never hesitated to help others. They want 19-year-old Kendrick Castillo to be remembered not as a victim but a hero.
“I wasn’t in the room but the people who told me what happened, (what they said) is that he didn’t hesitate. He heard him say ‘no one move’ and he jumped up and tackled him as quickly as possible,” said Charles Burroughs Jr.
Burroughs and Castillo were close friends, united by their love for Jeeps.
“We’ve worked on them together. He’s the reason that I got a lift kit. That I got those stripes on my Jeep. That I have a CB radio …” Burroughs trailed off.
Burroughs says they frequently went off-roading together. He laughed recalling some of their misadventures.
“He was trying to do a burnout and he snapped his axle and the next day I went home, I grabbed my trailer, we went to the junkyard and swapped it out within the day.”
Burroughs took CBS4 back to the STEM School parking lot Wednesday where he pointed out Castillo’s Jeep.
It was still sitting in the same spot he left it Tuesday. The last place where Burroughs spent time with him.
“I ate lunch in his Jeep,” Burroughs continued, “and then we went inside, we went to class. He went to Ms. Harpers class and I went to CAD.”
Burroughs remembers casually saying goodbye to Castillo. He had no idea that two hours later, his best friend would become a hero.
“They said we were on lockdown. This is around 1:57. I knew absolutely nothing. I thought it was a drill.”
It wasn’t long before Burroughs learned that there was an active shooter and Castillo had been shot while tackling him.
“Our goal was to go to Littleton (Adventist) because we were sure he was there.”
Burroughs was one of the first to the hospital and was greeted by a crisis counselor.
“And she said that Kendrick did not make it.”
HOW TO HELP: Highlands Ranch School Shooting
Burroughs says he was escorted to a room with about 50 other parents and students where he tried to wrap his head around what happened. He says he only barely knew one of the alleged shooters, 18-year-old Devon Erickson.
“There’s always those people that are just, the people not to hang around,” he said.
But he said he never noticed anything that seemed extreme.
“I never saw that coming. I didn’t think he would do that,” said Burroughs.
Standing near Castillo’s Jeep outside the school Wednesday, he couldn’t believe his friend was gone. He says he knows people will remember his name and is proud to have had him in his life.
“He really did anything for everyone and he did. He saved so many people.”