Tue | Jul 16, 2019

No thought for their own safety: Hero students disarm gunman

Published:Friday | May 10, 2019 | 12:17 AM
Devon Erickson, an accused STEM School shooter, appears at the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colorado, on Wednesday, May 8.
Young women console each other during a community vigil to honor the victims and survivors of yesterday's fatal shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
This undated photo provided by Rachel Short shows Kendrick Castillo, who was killed during a shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Rachel Short via AP)
A Douglas County, Colo., Sheriffs Department deputy walks past the doors to the STEM Highlands Ranch school early Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Two high school students used at least two handguns in a fatal Tuesday shooting at the charter school authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Investigators work outside the STEM Highlands Ranch school Wednesday morning, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo., the day after two students opened fire on students at the school. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A chair sits outside the middle school entrance to STEM School Highlands Ranch a day after two students opened fire on students at the school, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Douglas County Sheriff's Department deputies direct a motorist away from the scene outside STEM School Highlands Ranch a day after two students opened fire on students at the school, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Police tape remains near the scene following Tuesday's shooting at STEM Highlands Ranch school, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
George Brauchler, district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District, makes a point about Tuesday's shooting at a charter school, as Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, left, listens during a news conference Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis responds to a question about Tuesday's shooting at a charter school during a news conference Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock considers a question about Tuesday's shooting at a charter school during a news conference Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock responds to questions about Tuesday's shooting at a charter school during a news conference Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
School buses arrive at a recreation center set up for students to get reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A parent leaves with a child from the recreation center where students were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Parents leave a recreation center with their child where students were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
RETRANSMIT WITH ALTERNATE CROP Officials guide students off a bus and into a recreation center where they were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A parent leaves the recreation center where students were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Parents gather in a circle to pray at a recreation center where students were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colorado (AP):

The three students who disarmed a gunman in a Colorado school shooting leapt up from their desks without a word and with no thought for their own safety when they spotted the gun, recounted one of the young men.

They slammed the teenager, a classmate of theirs, against the wall and struggled with him when shots rang out. Kendrick Castillo, who led the charge, slumped to the ground.

His close friend, Brendan Bialy, wrestled the gun away and called out to Castillo. There was no response, Bialy told a roomful of reporters yesterday as he recalled what happened the previous day at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

“Kendrick went out as a hero,” Bialy said. “He was a foot away from the shooter, and instead of running the opposite direction, he ran toward it.”

Authorities said the actions of Castillo, Bialy and Joshua Jones minimised the bloodshed from Tuesday’s attack at the school south of Denver that wounded eight students, along with killing the 18-year-old Castillo.

The injured includes Jones, who was shot twice, according to a statement released by his family.

Bialy acknowledged that he was scared, but he said he wasn’t going to cower for shooters he repeatedly called cowards.

“They lost,” he said of the shooters. “They completely and utterly lost to good people.”

The attackers were identified by law-enforcement officials as 18-year-old Devon Erickson and a 16-year-old who prosecutors identified as Maya McKinney but whose attorney 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.

Because the attack happened only miles from Columbine High School and just weeks after the shooting’s 20th anniversary, questions quickly arose about whether it was inspired by the 1999 massacre. But investigators offered no immediate motive.