Father of STEM School shooting victim speaks about Boulder tragedy

Grocery Store Tragedy

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is a state very familiar with scenes like the mass shooting in Boulder.

Our state has lost 44 people in mass shootings or school shootings, dating back to Columbine in 1999. Far too many families have close connections to tragic events like the one we witnessed on Monday.

John and Maria Castillo are members of the club no one wants to be a part of. Their 18 year-old son Kendrick was shot and killed by a school shooter in Highlands Ranch in 2019.

On Monday, memories of that day came flooding back.

“It was like living our worst nightmare all over again. It really was. I couldn’t believe it,” said Castillo.

Castillo was at work when he heard about the shooter inside King Soopers. That’s also where he was in 2019 when he learned about the gunman inside his son’s school.

“It was the same time of day, same weather, same time of year we’re in,” he said.

One of Monday’s shooting victims, 20-year-old Denny Stong, also reminds him of his son. Some of Stong’s co-workers say Denny heroically rushed the shooter just like Kendrick did.

“They’re very similar, same age. Kendrick just turned 20. All of that reigned true to my heart,” Castillo said.

Castillo knows the heartaches and challenges that lie ahead for family’s of the victims who lost their lives in the Boulder King Soopers.

“Right away there’s always a lot of support, but as time goes on it’s just going to be your family that’s left behind. I’d also caution these families, control your own destiny. Don’t let this shooting define you,” Castillo said.

Castillo also urges friends of the shooting victims to remember their families, especially years from now.

“When the cameras and the lights go away, two or three years from now when you’re alone and you’re at your loved ones grave site, it’s really nice to hear from someone who remembers you and remembers your loved one,” he said.

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