A U.S. Marine poolee was one of the brave teens who rushed one of two suspects who opened fire Tuesday afternoon at a Colorado school.
Brendan Bialy, the Marine poolee, and his classmates tackled the suspect and removed his weapon, Bialy’s father Brad told NBC News on Wednesday.
Both suspects were students at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, a K-12 school of 1,800 students in the Highlands Ranch suburb just south of Denver.
The suspect Bialy confronted was 18-year-old Devon Erickson, who entered the classroom late, withdrew his gun from a guitar case, and took aim on fellow students.
The first victim was 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who immediately lunged at Erickson and was shot in the chest. Students attempted to render aid and stop the bleeding from his wound, but he later died of his injuries.
Student Nui Giasolli told NBC News that Castillo’s actions provided “enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape.”
Giasolli named Bialy, along with students Jackson Greggory and Lucas Albertoni, as “some of the kids who were brave enough to bring him down.”
“We are deeply saddened for the victims, families, friends, and community,” the Bialy family said in an emailed statement issued by lawyer Mark L. Bryant. “We’d like to commend the immediate response of law enforcement and assure all we are strong with the love of our families, community, friends, and every one sending concern, wishes, and strength. We will persevere.”
A high school senior who plans to become a Marine after graduation was among the students who tackled a gunman in a Colorado school on Tuesday. https://t.co/tC3A7CJXdD
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 8, 2019
Seven other students were injured in the shooting. Five of those injured students were released on Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported.
Fernando Montoya, a parent of one injured student, said his son was shot three times.
“Thank God he is fine,” Montoya said. “Even though he got shot, he’s OK. He’s going to walk out on his feet, so I’m glad. We’re so lucky.”
The shooting took place at about 1:53 p.m. local time and the police response was almost immediate due to a substation located one block away. Erickson and an unnamed juvenile female suspect were quickly taken into custody after a reported struggle.
It took several hours to evacuate students from the high school, middle school, and elementary school sections of the charter school, and to secure the scene.
“Tragically, this community and those surrounding it know all too well these hateful and horrible acts of violence,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
STEM School Highlands Ranch is located just eight miles from Columbine High School, where 12 students and one teacher were murdered, and another 21 injured. The 20th anniversary of the massacre took place just two and a half weeks ago on April 20.