Witness to Shooting of Austin Del Castillo Says Cops' Account "Very Different" From His

Categories: News
del-castillo-top.jpg
Matthew Hendley
One of the trees on Mill Avenue being used as a memorial for Austin Del Castillo.


A man who saw a Tempe police officer shoot Austin Del Castillo says the version of events police provided to media outlets is "very different" from what he saw.

Del Castillo was shot outside the Chili's restaurant on the corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive in Tempe, and died last week as a result of the shooting.

The witness, Boyd Branch, tells New Times he was driving on University Drive when he stopped for the police cars heading to the restaurant and ended up watching the shooting take place.

See also:
-Tempe Police Didn't Have to Shoot Austin Del Castillo, His Friends Say
-Austin Del Castillo, Man Shot by Tempe Police on Mill Avenue, Dies

One of the local TV stations that first ran the story cited a witness who claimed Del Castillo had charged at the officer with a box-cutter.

An e-mail sent out to media outlets by Tempe Police Sergeant Steve Carbajal, a police spokesman, made the same statement. The relevant part of the e-mail said:
"This morning at approximately 0818 hours, the Tempe Police Department received a call of a subject disturbing and threatening individuals with what was described as a knife or a box cutter. A description of the suspect was broadcasted and an officer responding to the call observed a subject matching the description on the southeast corner of Mill Ave and University Dr in front of the Chili's restaurant."

"When the officer made contact with the suspect, he still had the weapon in his hand. The officer gave verbal commands to the suspect to drop the weapon. The suspect refused to obey the officer's commands and charged at the officer with what was later found to be a box cutter. At this point, the officer removed his service weapon from his holster and fired at the suspect. The suspect was struck by the officer and was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment."
Branch, the witness we spoke to, made the following post on Facebook, which is time-stamped a few hours after the shooting:
Saw a man killed by a cop this morning. Many of my friends have a pretty intense distrust of law enforcement, and I am reticent to fuel that bias as a I have good friends and family who protect and serve this city with distinction that keep me from feeling comfortable with those that assume the worst about people with authority. That being said, the current news about the incident is significantly different from what I saw and since the news plays such a big role on public opinion I feel like I should say something. I don't really want to comment on some news post that is predominantly full of trolls that want to bark from a pulpit, so I am putting this out there publicly in what feels at least like a safer medium. The news is making a lot about a witness that said he saw the guy come charging with a knife at the officer. That is very different from what I saw. I saw a man stumbling forward towards officers and clearly not following instructions. I did not see the weapon in his hand, and in fact thought that he was shot because of a fear he was reaching to pull out a gun. The man was at least 10 or 15 feet away from the closest officer when shot, and unless a gun was the perceived threat I don't know why lethal force was used. I was one of the only witnesses that I know of that came back to give a report to the police besides employees inside the restaurant, and the witness accounts that were reported came before the police had even gotten around to interviewing us yet. I am alarmed by the press immediately running a story about a crazy man attacking and lunging at an officer based on some guy's witness account who didn't bother to give an official account to the police. The officer who took my formal statement in fact said that what I observed seemed to match the other formal accounts. I don't know the full context of the shooting or why the officer felt he needed to shoot. There could have been any number of accentuating circumstances, however from my perspective there were more options to contain the situation than lethal force. I am however waiting to hear from the police force itself what the official understanding of the event is before casting judgement or assuming what errors of judgement were made and how this should shape our appreciation of the policies in place for law enforcement. If you see or hear more official reports about this I would like to know. I guess that is all I have to say right now. If you feel like you want to respond to this post with any overgeneralized thoughts about the 'police state' I'd prefer if you posted elsewhere, however if any kind of informed discussion wants to take place be it critical or not I would welcome it.
Branch tells us he took notes of the incident and told us again today that Del Castillo was 10 to 15 feet away from the officer, and he says he never saw the weapon.

Del Castillo's friends have also been in protest of the officer's decision to shoot him. The officer has only been described as a 12-year veteran of the department.

Signs posted around the Chili's on that corner say, "Don't believe what the news says[,] the police definitely have a choice."

austin-del-castillo.jpg

His friends have planned a memorial for noon at Kiwanis Park in Tempe on October 5, and everyone's invited to attend.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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158 comments
MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

We don't know if Mr. Castillo was in fear for his own life (hence the reason he carried the box cutter and may have been wielding it)

We also don't know if Mr. Castillo was intoxicated or high (hence the stumbling)

I think we should wait to see what the official police report, ME report and toxicology report says BEFORE we make and pass judgment.

DirtyHarry
DirtyHarry

Would your reaction be any different if Austin del Castillo was other than Hispanic?

WaterColor
WaterColor

This reminds me so much of what happened to my friend just a few years ago that it sickens me. Cole was an amazing human being who was dealing with flashbacks, ptsd, and head injuries. The police were fully aware it was a veteran and they were going on a mental health check. They should have had means of 

 detaining him other than their guns. They should've sent experienced officers that knew how to deal with this type of mental health situation. But they didn't.  From what I understand he was alone in his home when the police entered without announcing themselves he, grabbed his 600 replica sword, probably off the wall, who knows what was going through his head, and we never will, because they shot him, not cleanly either a they shot him in the gut,  he died a horrible death. And this was the resulting article which really pisses me off because they should've removed it because it's bullshit http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/10/suicidal_machete-wielding_mesa.php                              Where is the justice? Why is lethal force being used without any thought? Trained professionals should have eaily been able to de-escalate these situations without use of lethal force. These men died stripped of their dignity, and I am not saying people should pay, but for gods sake people should think. This needs to stop. 


astroturf
astroturf

Who should be better believed: the witnesses favoring with Tempe cops or witnesses that are not on Tempe cops side? Who's more believable?

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

The police should just simply release the taped recordings from the people who called into the station reporting that a lunatic with a weapon was threatening people on the sidewalk. MR Branch most likely was not privy to those calls . One would think that the dispatcher would relay the situation to the cop and alert the cop to be prepared to defend himself.

robert_graham
robert_graham

Actually I was there and saw the whole thing and I can vouch for it being a justified shooting. Is it not okay for me to lie or just okay for them to lie?

LandShark
LandShark

@DirtyHarry Yes, it would be. Austin was my friend and a great person, full of love and tolerance, that's why I feel like the police had another option.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@astroturf 

The video that I am sure is out there and available

Otherwise, what @hellguide said and per the reports I have read, that wasn't the cops.

hellguide
hellguide

@astroturf 

The witness who is discusses the event in the most thought out, eloquent and educated way possible.

uncle.arty
uncle.arty

@john043012 why would he need to be privy to the 911 calls in order to give an honest accounting of what he had seen?

uncle.arty
uncle.arty

@john043012 why would he need to be privy to the 911 calls in order to give an honest accounting of what he witnessed?

robert_graham
robert_graham

@john043012 It's already been proven what really happned -- that police had every right to shoot him. You see, what these liberals just don't understand is that nobody can go around (regardless of their race) and threaten cops with a box cutter, knife or anything esle) and expect not be shot. 

Critics of the shooting would have rather seen the officer dance around and clap his hands and say to the suspect "please drop the knife, shake my hand and let's be friends." Or something like that.

Then when the officer was killed people would be questioning why didn't he sjust shoot him instead.

Well he did and it was the right thing to do because if you put a cops life in danger you too will be shot.

Any questions?

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham  you were there????? good god twit, do you realize that you are there for most every single crime being committed in Arizona???  do you have anything to do with these crimes?? you being there for one is a coincidence, more than one looks fishy, more than 2 is beyond fishy, after that its kind of implicating you in some possible wrong doing. do you realize you have laid claim to being at as many of these crime scenes as the cops have? every noteworthy or newsworthy crime  usually has a comment of you being there

THE_JUDGE
THE_JUDGE

You are a disgusting child pornographer. Tell us about the domain names you own, you know like teenboyjerks.com. You are a piece of shit. ROBERT GRAHAM, you make me sick.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham 

How could you be there when you were working at your Gas Station Job in Fresno yesterday? 

Still lying eh JAFfy..

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@LandShark @DirtyHarry
He was a friend of mine also. I think that because those who knew him could never imagine him in a situation such as this and something so traumatic could happen to someone so full of love that they look at him as just some Mexican guy rather then the person he really was.

steamsynthetic
steamsynthetic

@Flyer9753 @astroturf @hellguide I knew the guy that was shot. All trolling aside, every time I saw him he was a happy individual. I mean, he was a candy kid raver. Regardless if they are on drugs or not, they usually are pretty happy people. I don't know the backstory of what caused him to be in that situation. The cops obviously had a choice, anyone that was "stumbling" would have probably succumbed to non-lethal methods pretty easy. Why he was on Mill Ave in the first place is going to be a mystery to me. I am sure he was being bullied in some form by ASU frat kids that troll Mill Ave, thats the only assumption I can make about it, but we all know the sayings about assumptions. So I will leave it at that. 

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@uncle.arty It could explain why that cop was in a height of readiness why he acted in the way he did. The cop did not listen to the calls coming in crying for help he got his order's from a dispatcher who most likely informed him of the incidents taking on that street. 

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@astroturf seems simple enough to me all calls coming into a police department are recorded .

hellguide
hellguide

@astroturf @john043012 

That information will be surfacing in 3-4 weeks since that is how long it takes for the police to send out a request.

LandShark
LandShark

@robert_graham @john043012 Don't you have a gun-rights forum to be circle-jerking in? Don't use your political beliefs to slander my friend, take your conservative ass and go wrestle a train.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham if thats truly how you feel Robert, that anyone who threatens a cop should be shot.................why arent you on the article about Malley and making the same claims? do you somehow feel that there should be preferential treatment for  people? EQUAL law enforcement is just law enforcement. you must have your panties all twisted up in a knot over who to support in the Malley case. you probably want to support Malley...........but he did point a gun at a MCSO officer, and you want to support MCSO...........but you want Malley to get a free ride for pointing a gun at a cop...........but you claim anyone who points a weapon of any sort at a cop should be shot...........ooooh, i bet your little brain is about to explode over all the contradictions in your belief system. 

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Jaffy, I've got a question.

Are you really a kiddy diddler like everybody says. It would explain a lot.

peppersartmurals
peppersartmurals

@robert_graham @john043012 Gee, why have courts, investigations, or witness statements? You are either very ignorant, a useful idoit, Part of that pr from the department  a gov. paid troll. (if you are trolling for free that makes you stupid. *see useful idiot)

hellguide
hellguide

@robert_graham @john043012   nothing has been proven that is why this case is still open and apparently there are witnesses coming forward that dispel the initial police report.

Did you even RTFA?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham @john043012 

I have a question.

Is it true that you like little boys because it's the only way you don't feel inadequate due to your tiny dick? They have smaller dicks so you feel better about yours?

C'mon Robert, let us know why you registered all those domains about underage boy sex. 

robert_graham
robert_graham

@THE_JUDGE Excuse me?????  Who are you calling a child pornographer you sick fuck ass punk?  That's not my website asshole. I now will find out who you are and sue the fuck out of your dumb ass, You got it asshole?????????????????  You better watch what you say.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@steamsynthetic @Flyer9753 @astroturf @hellguide 

I am sorry for your loss. I did not personally know him, I just hope that the video that I am sure is out there, does come out so we can see what really happened (no offense intended to anyones recollection/statements) and go from there to make whatever changes are needed to whatever organization, be it ASU, some Frat, some business, counseling for students afflicted with whatever might have hit/happened to him or Tempe PD.. whatever.

hellguide
hellguide

@astroturf @hellguide @john043012 

This witness, his views where very thought out he speaks very eloquent.  The fact he would blog about his experience in the matter only hours at the event really shows the quality of his character.  Also Jeff Hollingsworth, the one who gave his "first hand" account to the news did not leave his information with police leaving his statement dubious at best.

This witness did document it with the police and kept quiet up until now in order to full consult the gravity of the situation first.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@astroturf AT this point all we have  are the desperate cries for help to the police department

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

@john043012 We live in a county that thinks someone like Joe Arpaio is a law enforcement officer, and have kept his corrupt ass in office for 20+ years. That sends a message to cops in other agencies in the county that they can pretty much do anything they want without fear of repercussion.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@peppersartmurals So its 8am and we have all these people standing around witnessing a cop who for no reason just shot someone. It just doesn't  make any sense for a 12 year veteran to do this knowing he is being watched

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@hellguide What we do know is people called the police station reporting there is a lunatic threatening people on the sidewalk with what appeared to them as being a knife. If the same people who called the police station are now denying what they said then the taped recordings will prove it.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham @Flyer9753 @john043012 

Really?? Then why are you getting so upset??

Strong emotion and denial... got something to hide Robert??? Of course you do... trolls like you always do.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham hold up there Robert. do you remember how i told you to think about what you were doing and what could happen when you threatened to post peoples personal info for signing the Arpaio recall? exactly what i tried to warn you about happened, someone dug into your life and brought it out for all to see. i have also tried to warn you about your posting threats, but again you wont listen. i want you to remember these warnings if the police do come around to talk to you about your posts. as rabid as you are of an Arpaio supporter, i am just as rabid about removing him, we are both extremists in our cause, but the big difference is that I AM NOT BREAKING THE LAW in my crusade. you are breaking the law while supporting a man who only wants to enforce specific laws, while i on the other hand want ALL laws enforced equally 

IdontRecall
IdontRecall

@robert_graham, jaffy, I see that u r threatening people today, can I get a threat also? fucking bitch, I think u r a pedophile  along with fishingblues, perhaps u r even partners on crime. CAN I GET MY THREAT NOW.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Make sure to wear gloves.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham @THE_JUDGE

"Nope not me asshole. You are wrong -- I NEVER PUBLISHED THOSE WEBITES. "

Then you should have no problem proving that in court and getting a judgement against us....

I'll be waiting for that lawsuit Robert.. you know, the one you talk about but will never show up.

THE_JUDGE
THE_JUDGE

@robert_graham @Flyer9753 I am so happy I have made you angry, hahaa it really makes my day. In all fairness to you the domain names didn't specify minor teens or adult teens, I suppose you may only have a thing for 18 and 19 year  old boys. As far as your threats, why don't I save you the trouble and come to you ?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham @Flyer9753 

You are the one who said you were coming after us... so I am waiting...

But of course you won't, you can't and you know it. 

You are the one that said you were going to sue people for calling your a child pornographer - well, where is my lawsuit Robert?? 

Or are you going to backtrack from what you said already??? Like usual??

C'mon Robert, sue me.. I can't wait to see your paperwork filled out in crayon

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Flyer9753 @robert_graham I have never registered any little boy websites asshole!!!!!!! Just what is your fucking problem?

No I am not a fag like most of you here are.

How about this. Let me tell you here publicly that I will fuck you up - either with a baseball bat, a tire iron or something else.  

YEAH I SAID IT ASSHOLE!!!!!

So now what I want you to do is get on the phone to Phoenix Police or MCSO or even the FBI and tell them I just threatened YOUR life and you want to have me arrested.

Go ahead and do it you sick fucker. I dare you. 

Watch them laugh at you but if they do trace my IP address and come arrest me I dare you to show up in court and testify that I threateend you because that will make my job easy to find out who you are.

THE_JUDGE
THE_JUDGE

@robert_graham Your domain names have been published, repeatedly for all to see.  You have no grounds for a lawsuit because you own the domain  names and exposed that yourself, here, fucking moron.,  Go fuck yourself, now what ?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham 

Really? It is? Then here, let's make really worthwhile... since in my opinion Judge is CORRECT! In my opinion it's been made extremely clear, by you even, that you ARE A CHILD PORNOGRAPHER AND THAT YOU LIKE LITTLE BOYS.

Why else would you register all those domains? All of them dealing with homosexuality and underage boys - hey if you are a homosexual more power to you, but what's with the little boys thing? Are you that ashamed of your size that you need little boys to 1) make your tiny dick look bigger and 2) grown men can't feel something as tiny as your little wiener? Pretty pathetic there Robert.... 

Which is nothing new for you....

So when should I expect my subpoena or notice of suit to arrive?? Are you going to draw it in crayon?

robert_graham
robert_graham

@hellguide The pathetic people are people like assholes here that attempt to fight back when they are stuck in a corner. They will stop at nothing!!!!

hellguide
hellguide

@robert_graham @Flyer9753 @THE_JUDGE Lets see how far your lawsuit will get you threatening people.  Some people are pathetic.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Flyer9753 @robert_graham @THE_JUDGE How would you react if somebody called you a pedophile?  You call me a child pornographer again and I'm gonna find out who you are and who knows what will end up happening to you.

Yeah I said it so quote me on that. Yeah it's a promise. Now what?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@robert_graham 

oooo yet another worthless threat from the village idiot... 

Welcome the the site @THE_JUDGE - you are now official here, since JAFfy has now threatened you like he does everyone else

ROFL!!!

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Flyer9753 @robert_graham I do huh? So then you have been there and seen me and can verify that it's me who works there? You were so damn sure I worked at Burger King too weren't you?

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