A student at STEM School Highlands Ranch credited with helping take down one of the two shooters who opened fire at the school Tuesday afternoon said the response he was a part of showed "the absolute best of people."
Brendan Bialy, a current poolee in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program (DEP), helped subdue a gunman, according to his lawyer and multiple sources. Bialy, however, said he doesn't see himself as a hero and doesn't want his name to be the ones people remember.
"Kendrick Castillo should stick in your brains forever - it's gonna stick in mine," he said, referring to the student killed at STEM School during the shooting that hurt eight others. "It's gonna stick in the students who go to STEM's mind."
Castillo, 18, charged one of the shooters along with Bialy and a third student, identified as Joshua Jones. The trio took the shooter to the ground, Bialy said. Castillo was shot and killed helping save the lives of his fellow students.
"Choose to take action," Bialy said during a Wednesday afternoon interview with a slew of reporters. "Choose to help others." He said that's what Castillo chose to do.
His actions weren't just noticed by people all over the internet, in Ireland, in Florida and elsewhere; the United States Marine Corps released a statement about their newest (very likely) recruit.
“Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring,” the United States Marine Corps said in a statement. “His decisive actions resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates.”
Attorney Mark L Bryant told 9NEWS on behalf of the Bialy family they are deeply saddened for the victims, families, friends, and community.
“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 everyone sending concern, wishes, and strength. We will persevere.”
Bryant explained the Wednesday press availability as being about strength.
"We wanted to get a message out about strength and hope," Bryant explained prior to the press availability's start. He added that Bialy was still cooperating and still had interviews to do with law enforcement about what happened.
Eight students were injured and taken to the hospital.
Nui Giasolli, a student at the school, said on the 'Today' Show Wednesday morning that Castillo died a hero after lunging at the gunman. Giasolli also credits Bialy for jumping into action and rushing the gunman that walked into her ninth period class on Tuesday afternoon.
"To be some of the kids that were brave enough to bring him down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families," Nui Giasolli, said on 'Today'. "They were very heroic. I can't thank them enough."
Bialy said Castillo and Jones immediately charged the suspect when he entered the class. Bialy explained that students were already in their class when the suspect entered — he was supposed to be in that class at the time and was late, Bialy added.
At the beginning of the press availability, a reporter noted Bialy looked jovial despite the events of Tuesday. He explained that it was the courageous actions of Castillo and Jones, although with what he credits his "body" as doing, that caused him to see the absolute best in people when confronted with the worst.
"I refuse to be a victim. Kendrick refused to be a victim. [Jones] refused to be a victim," he explained. He repeated that to anyone wondering what they should do.
Bialy said he's not a macho man or that kind of person, and he admitted he was scared and still scared thinking about it — but he did what he thought he should do. He credits his parents over his poolee training as the main reason he did what he did.
"Good genetics," he joked.
In talking about Castillo, Bialy said they first became friends freshman year of high school during their internal combustion engines class.
"He was a total nerd," Bialy said fondly of Castillo. "He was a fantastic, wholesome person... anyone who met him for five minutes knows that he's top tier."
Bialy joined the DEP in July 2018 and is scheduled to ship to recruit training this summer.
When asked how this incident will inform his work with the Marine Corps, which he still intends to join, he replied firmly.
"[It gives me] the confidence to know that I will be able to act when I need to act," he said.
To Bialy, joining the Marine Corps allows him to continue to do what he did Tuesday afternoon: help people.
"I wanna help people. I mean, at the very end of the day, the reason I joined is to help others. And I'm going to do that, absolutely."
He said after the incident his parents got in touch with him and asked if he was OK. At the time, he said, he wasn't so much focused on himself, but the others in the class, the students that he was with.
Bialy said the only injuries he has after the attack were some scrapes on his knees.
"I was blessed," he said.
Bialy declined to answer a question about whether or not he thinks things should change in the education system after the attack. He did offer a message of resilience to parents:
"Don't choose to let fear rule you," he said. "Don't let fear dictate your child's future. They're with you. They're good."
Two suspects, 18-year-old Devon Erickson and a juvenile, are in custody following the shooting. Erickson is facing 30 counts in relation to the shooting.
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