Among the group of students who tackled a gunman during a school shooting near Denver was an 18-year-old senior who plans to become a Marine.
The U.S. Marine Corps on Wednesday confirmed that Brendan Bialy, who was uninjured in his attempt to stop the shooting, is enrolled in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program and is expected to attend a recruit training boot camp this summer.
Bialy’s father, Brad Bialy, told The New York Times that his son was in a classroom at STEM School Highlands Ranch in the Denver area on Tuesday when two students entered the room and one of them opened fire.
“Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring,” Marine Capt. Michael Maggitti said in a statement Wednesday. “His decisive actions resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates.”
Brad Bialy said his son and two friends tried to tackle the gunman, resulting in one of the students being shot in the chest. Kendrick Castillo, 18, died while lunging toward the shooter Tuesday. Eight other students were injured during the attack.
“I want to make something clear: Kendrick Castillo died a legend,” Brendan Bialy told reporters at a Wednesday news conference.
When the students confronted the attackers, Bialy said there was no hesitation.
“It was immediate, non-hesitation, immediate jump into action,” Bialy said. “There was no questioning .... There was no looking around. It was threat notice, action time.”
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Wednesday that he knew of at least one student who encountered the assailants, and he expected that more heroic stories will surface.
“And I suspect that as the detectives get further interviews from them, we are going to find that there were much more heroic things,” the sheriff added.
Nui Giasolli, a senior who was in the classroom when the two teens began their attack, told the “Today” show that Castillo’s confrontation with the gunman gave them time to run away.
Giasolli said one of the intruders told the students not to move.
“That’s when Kendrick lunged at him, 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,” she said.
Mark L. Bryant, an attorney representing Bialy’s family, said Brendan was concerned about the victims.
“When I spoke to him, he was still in shock and primarily concerned with the victims and their families,” Bryant told a news station. “This young man, like many of our young youth, are compelled by their families, communities and own internal convictions and strength to act immediately and selflessly. His message is strength to all.”