Students walked out of a vigil for the shooting at a STEM school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on Wednesday after the event’s speakers reportedly politicized the tragedy and used it to push for gun control.
The vigil, which was held to honor student Kendrick Castillo — the single fatality in the incident — who died after rushing the shooter to prevent casualties.
Eight other students were injured in the attack. Authorities took two people into custody in connection with the incident.
Castillo, 18, was just three days shy of graduating from the school.
What are the details?
Nearly 2,000 people attended the event, which was held at the STEM School Highlands Ranch High School and was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and Rep. Jason Crow (D) both spoke at the event and used the shooting to renew their call for gun control.
Clearly moved, many of the students chanted “mental health” after Bennet and Crow invoked gun control during the vigil, and even more walked out of the event in protest.
Other students shouted, “political stunt” and “we are people, not a statement.”
Local reporter Kyle Clark shared a touching photo of the students who left the school vigil to hold their own.
Clark captioned the photo, “Frustrated, crying and angry, #STEMschool shooting victims hold an impromptu vigil in the rain Wednesday after leaving a gun-control vigil they felt inappropriately politicized their trauma. (They asked that I not photograph their faces close up, and I respected their wishes.)”
The Brady Campaign issued a statement after the vigil went south, USA Today reported: “We are deeply sorry any part of this vigil did not provide the support, caring and sense of community we sought to foster and facilitate and which we know is so crucial to communities who suffer the trauma of gun violence.”
Local reporter Jenny Brundin also shared photos on Twitter featuring the students walking out in protest. Brundin wrote, “What was so amazing about STEM school kids walking out, holding up lights in the drizzling rain to honor their friend who died, shouting for mental health services, sharing their grief into microphone is this: teens worlds are hyper-controlled by adults. Tonight, THEY spoke.”
Brundin also shared a video of the students calling for mental health — not gun control.
She captioned the video, “Powerful moment when STEM School kids spontaneously started shouting, ‘Mental health! Mental health!’ Anguish at adults not recognizing their pain and the pain of their classmates.”