The three students who disarmed a gunman in a Colorado school shooting leapt up from their desks without a word and with no thought for their own safety when they spotted the gun, recounted one of the young men.

They slammed the teenager, a classmate of theirs, against the wall and struggled with him when shots rang out. Kendrick Castillo, who led the charge, slumped to the ground.

His close friend, Brendan Bialy, wrestled the gun away and called out to Castillo. There was no response, Bialy told a roomful of reporters on Wednesday as he recalled what happened the previous day at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

"Kendrick went out as a hero," Bialy said. "He was a foot away from the shooter and instead of running the opposite direction he ran toward it."

Authorities said the actions of Castillo, Bialy and Joshua Jones minimized the bloodshed from Tuesday's attack at the school south of Denver that wounded eight students along with killing the 18-year-old Castillo.

The injured includes Jones, who was shot twice, according to a statement released by his family.