Father of student killed in STEM shooting lobbies at Colorado Capitol for first time

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DENVER -- John Castillo never thought he would be an activist at the Colorado State Capitol. On Tuesday, he was the latest grieving parent to lobby lawmakers for change.

Castillo lost his son Kendrick during the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting in May. Kendrick is credited with saving lives by helping to subdue one of the shooters.

"There is all this stuff he would have been doing but here I am in the State Capitol," Castillo told FOX31. "My wife is at home crying and we go to the cemetery every day to visit him."

Castillo's appearance in front of the School Safety Committee was unannounced. He came into the meeting and sat near the back of the room. Castillo said he wanted to listen to see if lawmakers are in agreement with what he thinks should be done.

"I want to rename some of what the event is -- it's labeled as a school shooting and I hear that language in there and that's troublesome to me. I think its domestic terrorism," Castillo said.

To some degree, Castillo is unsure how active of an "activist" he will be -- right now, he remains focused on justice for his son. A trial will start next month.

"The trial is coming up soon Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. [in] Douglas County. I know the date," Castillo said. "We will see how many people support me. They were out in [droves] before I hope they are in [droves] again."

Tragedy has a way of creating very powerful voices in Colorado. State Sen. Rhonda Fields became active after her son was murdered. State Rep. Tom Sullivan became involved after his son was murdered in the Aurora theater shooting.

"I do these things because I want to promote Kendrick's name and want to make a change," Castillo said.

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