A Latter-day Saint teen was shot twice while helping fellow students subdue a gunman in Tuesday’s school shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Josh Jones, 18, a priest from the Roxborough Ward, Highlands Ranch Colorado Stake, was hit once in the leg and once in the hip. His injuries were not life-threatening. He was treated at a nearby hospital before being released Tuesday night.
One of Josh’s classmates at the STEM School Highlands Ranch near Denver — 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, also being labeled a hero by peers, officials and Josh's own family — was shot and killed in the May 7 attack.
Like Josh, Castillo rushed the shooter, giving fellow students in their classroom valuable seconds to hide.
Besides Josh, seven other students at the K-12 school that specializes in math and science suffered gunshot wounds but survived.
Two students — a male and a female — have been arrested for investigation in the deadly attack.
Josh was in class Tuesday afternoon when one of the shooters “began what could have been a much worse situation,” said his ward Young Men’s leader, Josh Lewis, speaking on behalf of the family.
“Josh and two other students tried to disarm the assailant. In the process, one of the other students was shot and killed.”
Josh was resting at his home on Wednesday with his family. “He’s doing very well,” said Lewis. “He’s in good spirits.”
Josh's family released a statement following the shooting:
"On Tuesday, May 7th, countless families in our community experienced a situation that will live with us for the remainder of our lives. Like most, we consider ourselves fortunate the result was not much, much worse. Our hearts and sincerest condolences go out Kendrick’s family as they deal with this insurmountable loss of such a special hero. During the incident, our incredible son and brother, Joshua, was involved in disarming one of the suspects and as a result suffered two gunshot wounds. Thanks to the quick work of emergency personnel, he was treated and has been able to return home to us to begin his recovery, as well as assist investigators working this incident."
Besides Josh, there were six members of the Roxborough Ward at the STEM school Tuesday at the time of the shooting.
“Josh happened to be the one who was closest to the danger,” said Lewis. “He stepped up quickly and thought of others before himself in order to defuse the situation.
“As bad as it was, (the situation) could have been much, much worse.”
Lewis said he’s not surprised that Josh placed his own life in danger while trying to protect his classmates and teachers.
“Josh has always been a person that helps other people… We’re all extraordinarily proud to call Josh our personal hero at this moment.”
Lewis has also visited with a few of the other STEM students from his ward.
“Needless to say, most of them are shook up, as well as their parents and other family members. But we are a very close-knit ward. We already have counseling and programs that are scheduled for (Wednesday night) in order to help not just our ward, but the community as a whole.”
Lewis said he was inspired by “the immediate mobilization” from ward members and their neighbors “to support each other.”
Josh is a senior and is to graduate from high school this week.