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Kendrick Castillo, hero killed in Colo. school shooting, told his dad he would act if confronted with a gunman

Kendrick Castillo 鈥 only days from graduation 鈥 acted fast inside of his British literature class at a suburban Denver school Tuesday afternoon. And he听paid with his life.听

When a gunman burst through the door at STEM School Highlands Ranch, barking at students to stay in place and not move, Castillo, 18, rushed the shooter. It was听a quick-thinking move that fellow students said gave them a chance to bolt for safety or take cover under desks.听

"Kendrick lunged at (the gunman), and he shot Kendrick, giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape,鈥澨齭enior Nui Giasolli told NBC's Today听on Wednesday morning.听Other students helped Castillo tackle the shooter, classmates said.

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Douglas County Coroner Jill Roman听confirmed Wednesday that the听student killed was听Castillo, the sheriff's department said in a tweet.听

This undated photo provided by Rachel Short shows Kendrick Castillo, who was killed during a shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

An emotional听John Castillo听lauded his kind-hearted son as a hero.听鈥淚 want people to know about him,鈥 he told ABC News.听

He also told NBC that he听talked with Kendrick about听what to do in a school shooting, advising him听"you don't have to be the hero."

But his son, who wanted to听study electrical engineering in college, insisted he would act. "You raised me this way. You raised me to be a good person. That鈥檚 what I鈥檓 doing,'" Castillo recalled.听

Castillo said the coroner told him his son, an only child,听took gunfire that would have harmed other students, according to the Denver Post.

鈥淗e cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it鈥檚 against my better judgment,'' Castillo told the newspaper.听鈥淚 wish he had gone and hid, but that鈥檚 not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.鈥

Castillo,听a member of a Highlands Ranch robotics club called FRC 4418 Impulse, was set to graduate Friday, according to media reports, and was described as someone who was funny, smart and captivated by robotics.

"We're heartbroken by the death of Kendrick Castillo, a victim of the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting," tweeted FIRST, a youth non-profit that advances STEM education. "Kendrick was a member of @Frc4418, of which his father is Lead Mentor. Our hearts go out to Kendrick's family, friends, & all affected by the shooting."听听听

for Castillo's family and听local FRC team 4418 in response to the outpouring of support in the community. More than $20,000 was raised in less than 24 hours,听FIRST's 91影视 Pickering said Thursday, and all proceeds will be distributed to the team.听

Students and teachers raise their arms as they exit the scene of a shooting in Highlands Ranch, 91影视, on May 7 , 2019..

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Castillo had been a听four-year member of the school's robotics team and had several听technology internships, according to his LinkedIn page, Buzzfeed reported.

Rachel Short of Bacara USA, a manufacturing business where Castillo began an internship last year, said he performed so well the company gave him a part-time job. Short said Castillo听loved engineering and was eager to help people.

鈥淭o find he went down as a hero, I鈥檓 not surprised,'' said Short, the company's CEO. "That鈥檚 exactly who Kendrick was.鈥

Cecilia Bedard, 19, knew Castillo since elementary school and said he was always friendly and听modest, frequently joining his father at Knights of Columbus fund-raisers and bingo nights.

鈥淗e was amazing,鈥 Bedard said. 鈥淗e was honestly the sweetest kid I ever met. Never said a mean joke.鈥

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock听said investigators had not yet determined a听motive for the attack that erupted听shortly before 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

Two people were taken听into custody, an 18-year-old male and a juvenile girl, the sheriff's department said.听

The shooters were听armed with at least two handguns and听entered through a middle-school entrance at the K-12 school specializing in math and science, Spurlock said. Eight others were injured.

Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz;听The Associated Press听

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