DENVER (CBS4) – During his State of the State address, Gov. Jared Polis said one of the most difficult days of the first year of his administration was on May 7 when two gunmen opened fire inside STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. The governor invited the parents of the student who died in the shooting to attend Thursday’s speech.
Watch the complete speech in the video clip below:
“I will never forget visiting with them shortly after the STEM tragedy,” said Polis, pointing out John and Maria Castillo in the audience. Their son Kendrick died when he charged one of the gunmen in his classroom.
Castillo was the only person killed, but eight others were injured. He is remembered for his love of all things science and, as Polis said, for “heroically preventing more bloodshed.”
Polis brought up the shooting in the midst of series of points about his education policies.
“Our work on education is incredibly important. But we can’t fulfill our promise of a better future for our kids if we don’t do a better job of keeping them safe when they walk through the schoolhouse door,” Polis said.
Polis asked John and Maria to stand up and be recognized by legislators for their painful sacrifice.
“Like millions of parents across this state, many of us here are parents, I imagined myself in their shoes. We all did. The disbelief. The devastation. The anger. And the pain,” he said. “The despair of losing a child to senseless violence is a weight that too many parents have been forced to bear for too long. I want to commend the school safety interim committee for their bipartisan work on this important issue. And I look forward to working with all of you to do more to keep our kids safer, because no parent should have to go through what John and Maria went through.”
Polis said “every child in our state deserves a safe opportunity to learn, to make friends, to create memories, and to grow up and graduate and move on to a successful life.”
After the shooting at STEM School, police arrested Devin Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, at the scene. McKinney was charged as an adult and lost a bid to tried as a juvenile.
Last week the Castillos <a href=”http://“>filed a claim against the school and the Douglas County School District.