Hundreds of Jeep owners — Jeepers, as the brand's enthusiasts call themselves — converged on Highlands Ranch, Colo., last week to honor one of their own who was killed helping to disarm a shooter at his high school.
Jeepers from across Colorado and beyond answered the call to join a funeral procession for 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, the sole fatality in the May 7 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Police and classmates lauded Castillo as a hero for tackling one of two suspects, allowing another student to take away the gun before anyone else was killed.
More than 800 Jeep owners and drivers of other off-road vehicles responded to a Facebook post, saying they would join Kendrick's procession convoy. The procession was led by police and Castillo's green Jeep Cherokee Sport.
Some who live farther away offered a digital "Jeep wave," referring to the friendly greeting that some Jeep drivers give each other on the road.
"As soon as we heard that Kendrick was a Jeeper, it kind of spread like wildfire around the Jeep groups," Catherine Fanaro, founder of a group called Colorado Jeep Girls, which helped organize the gathering, told TV station KCNC in Denver.
A friend, Charles Burroughs Jr., told the station that he and Castillo had frequently worked on their Jeeps together.
"The main thing that we really bonded over was the Jeeps," he said. "He's the reason that I got a lift kit, that I have those stripes on my Jeep, that I have a CB radio."