An estimated 2,000 friends and family attended a memorial service Wednesday for Kendrick Castillo who bravely helped stop a school shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Classmates from STEM School Highlands Ranch say Kendrick sacrificed his life by jumping on one of the shooters to stop him from doing any more harm. In the process, Kendrick was wounded and died.
His father John Castillo said at the memorial service, "I've always known he was a gift -- and a hero."
Kendrick was known as a robotics junkie with a big smile who ushered at Saturday mass. His father and teachers agree he was an exceptional young man, always willing to help others.
Pastor Dan Demey spoke at the memorial quoting Psalms: "God is near to the brokenhearted," he said.
"The Bible says that we are made in God's image. And if that is true then here's what I witnessed. In a troubled time, the response of those closest to this family, the response was to love and support and come near to this family, and if we are made in the image of God, I am more convinced than ever that we serve a good and loving Father and that He draws near to all of us during troubled times," Demey said.
Mike Shallenberger, a teacher and family friend, said Kendrick's kindness and courage are something to emulate. "I think we all need to be a little more like Kendrick," he said.
"Kendrick, who gave his life in service at the church, taught us compassion, empathy, and love. As a young man, he taught us many things, but as it relates to wisdom he taught us what's wiser than of his age. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to him today, but it is with the joy of the Easter season that we celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead, we know too that Kendrick has been risen from his death," he said.
Eight other students were injured in the shooting and all are out of the hospital.
There was also a court hearing for the two accused attackers from the shooting, 18-year-old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney, Wednesday.