Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 15, 2019

A Split-Second Decision

The most significant moments of our lives seldom present themselves at a convenient time. We rarely receive any warning that our lives will intersect with a moment so extraordinary or unexpected that it alters the course of our lives — and that of others.

Tuesday, May 7, started out just like any other day for Kendrick Castillo and his friends Joshua Jones and Brendan Bialy. The three friends attend a Denver area STEM school located eight miles from Columbine High School, the site of the 1999 mass shooting that claimed thirteen lives and wounded more than twenty others.

On Tuesday, two other students entered the school with the intention of doing harm. Devon Erickson and Alec McKinney managed to make it deep inside the school without raising any suspicions. One of these shooters entered the classroom where Kendrick and his friends were studying and warned, “Nobody move.”


In a split-second, Kendrick assessed the threat and, without hesitation, moved in the direction of that threat. His friend Brendan and then Joshua immediately followed. According to reports Castillo pushed the shooter against the wall, Jones pulled him to the ground, and Bialy managed to get the gun away from him.

Jones and Castillo both sustained gunshot wounds. Eighteen year-old Castillo, however, died at the scene. Authorities arrested the two shooters. They have been charged with first-degree murder, several counts of attempted murder, and a variety of other charges related to the incident.

Kendrick Castillo was laid to rest today. He was remembered as a kind and selfless young man who consistently thought of others first. And he was acknowledged as a hero. Rightly so! When the moment presented itself, Kendrick unlocked the potential in that moment to do good and, by so doing, helped prevent what might have been a great loss of life.

Don’t expect God to check your calendar before presenting you with a moment packed with the potential to do good. Instead, ask Him for the wisdom to see the potential in that moment, even if you only have a split-second in which to do so. And then do the right thing, even if it means moving in the direction of something frightening.

Kendrick Castillo died in medias res — a Latin term that means in the middle of a story. One day, like Kendrick, each of us will die in medias res. However, our story does not have to end there. Because Kendrick’s actions saved lives, his story is forever a part of the stories of all those saved by his split-second decision.

May we too have the courage to unlock the potential of the ordinary and not so ordinary moments that present themselves to us every day.


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