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More than 600 Jeeps lead procession for Kendrick Castillo

Hundreds of Jeeps took part in a procession to the memorial service for the 18-year-old who was killed while trying to stop two teen gunmen at his Denver high school.  

Two thousand people filled Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch on Wednesday to honor Kendrick Castillo, who was killed just three days before he was meant to graduate from STEM School Highlands Ranch. 

Castillo loved Jeep trucks and saved up so that he could buy his own. So a local Jeep enthusiast group put out the call to honor him with a special procession, and more than 600 answered her call. 

Colorado Jeep Girls took to their Instagram to ask fellow Jeep fans to show up to the service in ‘whatever Jeep you drive’. 

Hundreds of Jeeps took part in a procession to the memorial service for Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old who was killed while trying to stop two teen gunmen at his Denver high school

Hundreds of Jeeps took part in a procession to the memorial service for Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old who was killed while trying to stop two teen gunmen at his Denver high school

Castillo loved Jeep trucks and saved up so that he could buy his own (pictured). So a local Jeep enthusiast group put out the call to honor him with a special procession, and more than 600 answered her call

Castillo loved Jeep trucks and saved up so that he could buy his own (pictured). So a local Jeep enthusiast group put out the call to honor him with a special procession, and more than 600 answered her call

‘As you all know, Kendrick was a Jeep lover,’ the post read. ‘As a Jeep community, we have been asked to come together as one to show our support for this young man and his family.’ 

‘We will be joining in on the procession to send him off in true Jeeper fashion. Please join us in whatever Jeep you drive. New, old and everything in between! Let’s show Kendrick’s family the love from our Jeep community to them.’   

Catherine Fanaro, the founder of Colorado Jeep Girls, told KCNC that people in the community wanted to ‘get together and support however we can’. 

‘This is a huge turnout. I didn’t expect it to get as big as it did, and it’s not just Jeepers. It’s other 4×4 enthusiasts and car clubs and stuff that have reached out and said, ‘Hey, I want to be part of this.” 

Two thousand people filled Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch on Wednesday to honor Castillo, who was killed just three days before he was meant to graduate from STEM School Highlands Ranch

Two thousand people filled Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch on Wednesday to honor Castillo, who was killed just three days before he was meant to graduate from STEM School Highlands Ranch

Colorado Jeep Girls took to their Instagram to ask fellow Jeep fans to show up to the service in 'whatever Jeep you drive' to honor Castillo

Colorado Jeep Girls took to their Instagram to ask fellow Jeep fans to show up to the service in ‘whatever Jeep you drive’ to honor Castillo

More than 800 Jeep fans promised to take part in the procession to show love to Castillo's family on Wednesday

More than 800 Jeep fans promised to take part in the procession to show love to Castillo’s family on Wednesday 

Castillo was also honored with a full police motorcade, the first formal motorcade ever given to a civilian by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. Police are pictured here escorting the teen's hearse as it arrives for the service

Castillo was also honored with a full police motorcade, the first formal motorcade ever given to a civilian by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Police are pictured here escorting the teen’s hearse as it arrives for the service 

Castillo’s green Cherokee was included in the procession. 

Right behind it was a Jeep driven by his best friend Charles Burroughs Jr, a fellow Jeep lover. 

Castillo was also honored with a full police motorcade, the first formal motorcade ever given to a civilian by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. 

The department said it wanted to honor Castillo’s courageous act after he immediately threw himself at one of the gunmen as his peers ran to safety. 

Castillo also loved Robotics, which was reflected in the robots that were lined up outside the church. Two robots held a sign that read ‘A hero 4 heroes’.  

'People in the community just really want to get together and support however we can,' Catherine Fanaro, the founder of Colorado Jeep Girls, said of the unique procession

‘People in the community just really want to get together and support however we can,’ Catherine Fanaro, the founder of Colorado Jeep Girls, said of the unique procession 

Castillo also loved Robotics, which was reflected in the robots that were lined up outside the church. Two robots held a sign that read 'A hero 4 heroes'

Castillo also loved Robotics, which was reflected in the robots that were lined up outside the church. Two robots held a sign that read ‘A hero 4 heroes’

Police have hailed Castillo for saving his classmates' lives after he threw himself on one of the shooters last week

Police have hailed Castillo for saving his classmates’ lives after he threw himself on one of the shooters last week 

A kayak was on the stage at the memorial, along with a photo of a Jeep and two sports jackets. 

John Castillo, the teen’s father, said it was no surprise to him and his wife that their only son did what he had to do that day.

Echoing other speakers, John told those gathered at the memorial to be more like his son, and put love and compassion first to carry on his life’s message.

Just hours before burying their son, Castillo’s parents were in court to watch as his alleged killers were formally charged with his murder.  

Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, have been charged with murder, attempted murder, and a series of other counts relating to the May 7 shooting.

McKinney, who was listed on the court docket by the name Maya Elizabeth McKinney but identifies as male, will also be tried as an adult, the court confirmed.

The teen’s attorney, Ara Ohanian, said she would seek to move McKinney’s case back to juvenile court.    

Erickson and McKinney were arrested at the school after investigators say they opened fire on their fellow students, injuring eight with handguns that had been concealed in a guitar case.

The two teens made their initial court appearances last week in separate hearings before Douglas County District Judge Theresa Slade, who ordered them both held without bond.

Castillo, a high school senior, was set to graduate just three days before his life was tragically cut short last week

Pictured is Castillo

Castillo, a high school senior, was set to graduate just three days before his life was tragically cut short last week 

Just hours before burying their son, Castillo's parents (pictured) were in court to watch as his alleged killers were formally charged with his murder

Just hours before burying their son, Castillo’s parents (pictured) were in court to watch as his alleged killers were formally charged with his murder

Denver’s ABC affiliate television station has reported that the two pistols used in the attack were stolen from the home of Erickson, whose parents had purchased the guns legally.

Unlike his court appearance last week, Erickson appeared more involved and engaged during Wednesday morning’s proceedings.

Instead of looking down at his feet with his face concealed by his pink and black dyed hair as he had before, Erickson’s face was visible while he looked forward to address the judge directly.

Wearing a prison uniform, Erickson was shackled by his wrists and ankles throughout the hearing, as  Slade denied a motion to have them removed.

Alongside his charges of murder and several counts of attempted murder, Erickson is also facing charges of theft and arson in relation to the attack. 

McKinney appeared in court after Erickson. He glanced back several times during the hearing toward the bench where his mother was sitting. 

Castillo’s father started at both defendants during the hearing.  

Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, have been charged with murder, attempted murder, and a series of other counts relating to the May 7 shooting. Erickson is pictured here in court on Wednesday

Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, have been charged with murder, attempted murder, and a series of other counts relating to the May 7 shooting. Erickson is pictured here in court on Wednesday 

McKinney, who was listed on the court docket by the name Maya Elizabeth McKinney but identifies as male, will also be tried as an adult, the court confirmed

McKinney, who was listed on the court docket by the name Maya Elizabeth McKinney but identifies as male, will also be tried as an adult, the court confirmed

‘It would have been easy for them to say, “I’m not going to make it to court today because in less than two hours we’re going to have a memorial service for our son,”’ District Attorney George Brauchler said of Castillo’s parents. 

‘But from the word go they have made it clear that our intention is to be here for every single hearing.’  

Joshua Jones, an 18-year-old senior at the school, said during a news conference on Tuesday that he was watching The Princess Bride in his British literature class when a classmate pulled a gun and told everyone to stay still.

Jones said he was acting on instinct when he, Castillo and fellow student Brendan Bialy subdued one of the gunmen. 

‘We rushed him. I pulled him to the ground, Kendrick got the gun out of him, I shoved him to the wall,’ Jones explained.

He was shot twice in one leg but said he is recovering quickly.

‘There wasn’t a whole lot that was going through my mind at the time. Adrenaline and tunnel vision are a crazy thing,’ said Jones, who described himself as just a normal teenage kid.

‘They make it so that you don’t really focus on anything but what’s right in front of your face at that moment.’ 

Joshua Jones, an 18-year-old senior at the school, said he was acting on instinct when he, Castillo and fellow student Brendan Bialy subdued one of the gunmen

Joshua Jones, an 18-year-old senior at the school, said he was acting on instinct when he, Castillo and fellow student Brendan Bialy subdued one of the gunmen

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