May 15—Josh Jones was at his desk, watching "The Princess Bride" in his 12th-grade British Literature class in STEM School Highlands Ranch, when a classmate entered the room, pulled out a gun and said, "Nobody move."
Jones, along with his friends Kendrick Castillo and Brendan Bialy, didn't listen.
"You never expect that to happen," Jones told reporters Tuesday. "You never expect to make that choice at any point in your life."
His choice was to spring out of his chair and rush the shooter, a split-second decision he recounted in a news conference at a Littleton event center. His actions, along with those of Castillo and Bialy, spared further bloodshed in an attack that left Castillo dead and eight injured—including Jones.
Jones recalled Castillo leaping up first, followed quickly by Bialy and himself. Castillo shoved the shooter into the wall while Jones took him to the ground. Bialy, meanwhile, wrestled the gun away from the gunman. It took all three of them to save lives, he said.
"If it was just me or just Brendan or just Kendrick, it would have been much worse for everybody else in that room," Jones said.
As he pinned the shooter to the ground, Jones called his mother. In a measured tone, he told her that there had been a school shooting and that he was OK. His mom asked if he was bleeding. A little, he said.
"I was probably more calm than the situation warranted," Jones said.
How did he maintain such a demeanor in a frantic situation?
"Adrenaline and tunnel vision are a crazy thing," he said.
With the adrenaline coursing through his system, Jones said he didn't immediately realize that he had been shot. He doesn't know exactly when it happened. He later noticed that he suffered two gunshot wounds to his left leg in the struggle: one to his upper thigh, the other to his lower calf. The bullets went straight through, missing any major arteries. Jones went to the hospital Tuesday afternoon but was able to go home later that night. The recovery, Jones said, is going as well as he could hope.
"I'm a young kid," he said, drawing smiles from his parents. "You can fall off of anything and get up the next day."
Jones hopes to be off crutches and walking by his high school graduation, which is in just six days.
"I anticipate graduation as being a bit more somber than it would have been," Jones said. "We're missing one of the kids who's been there since the very beginning."
Castillo, Bialy and he were good friends, Jones said, hanging out at each other's houses, chatting often in school.
"Kendrick was just going off to college; he was doing great things, and it's truly a shame that he had to leave us so early," Jones said.
A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jones will be taking part in the denomination's customary missionary program next year. But after that, he said, he wants to become an EMT.
"After what happened, the EMTs were just so incredibly helpful and kind," he said. "I want to do that, to be able to help those that need it."
Jones said all the training for what to do in case of a school shooter taught him to run away, to hide, to wait for authorities to arrive.
"I'm glad I made my decision," he said. "But I hope no one has to make that decision ever again."