Share this story...
Latest News

With all possible paths in front of him, Kendrick Castillo chose to be a hero

(Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Kendrick Castillo did something most of us wouldn’t do. This brave, 18-year-old man who was set to graduate this week, threw himself in harm’s way to protect his fellow students as a complete lunatic set out to unleash a horrific hell upon innocent high school students.

Thank you, Kendrick. You are a hero.

I saw that his father said he wished that his son had made a different choice, “I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people. I had a hard time accepting that,” John Castillo told the Denver Post.

My oldest son just finished up his sophomore year at Arizona State. He’s doing pretty well, but high school was difficult for him. College seems to suit him much better and he makes me very proud. My youngest son is a junior in high school. He told me after the lunatic from Florida came to town which caused the shutdown of many schools in Colorado that he is accustomed to lockdowns. He’s grown up with it. He said it wasn’t a big deal.

I got used to fire drills when I was a kid.

I’m not sure I would call it a fight with my wife, but I was very tense after both of these incidents. I was tense. Things were tense at home. Both times, recently, I had a strong emotional reaction unlike any I’ve had in the past.

I wish I didn’t have something to compare it to, but we’ve had way too many of these types of violent episodes in Colorado since I moved here in 1999. I have no idea why. I also don’t know why my reactions are getting stronger and stronger. I don’t know why I’m taking it so much more personal.

Perhaps, it’s because I really love teenagers. I love them as people. I love the possibilities that they represent and the way they do so many grown up things while still being closely connected to their childhood selves. I love the way they get the best out of adults who struggle to be in the room sometimes with each other. I love the challenges they present to our common way of thinking with their daring and exuberance. I love the joy in which they explore the journey of life through sports and art, through creativity and questioning, through doubt and unmitigated confidence.

I remember being that person. I remember finding joy in my successes and heartbreak in, well, heartbreak.

But, you know what? I never knew what it was like to be told by police to exit a school with my hands on my head in a line of my other friends doing the same while an endless row of emergency vehicles wailed away and helicopters circled my school. I never knew what that was like.

Frankly, I can’t wait for my younger son to graduate high school and get the hell out of there. I spoke to him today about the four games left he has on his spring baseball schedule. Making the playoffs is gonna be hard, but not impossible. I spoke to him about a girl he took to the prom a couple of weeks ago and whether or not he wants to date her this summer.

I dropped a note to my kid in college about ASU beating Arizona on Tuesday night in baseball. He didn’t make the trip to Tuscon for the game because he was attending a friend of his graduation ceremony. He’s coming home for a couple of days, but he has a job and summer classes he’s going to be taking. I talked to my kids about – you know – stuff you should be talking to your kids about.

But if I had to talk to my kids about a school shooting situation, I would want them to run and hide. I would want them to be far, far away. I wouldn’t want them to be a hero. I would want them to be alive and unharmed.

I would feel the same as John Castillo. But, we don’t get to choose who our children are gonna be as they grow up. We can guide them the best we can, but in the end, they will make choices independent of us.

Kendrick Castillo chose to be a hero.