Tempe Police Didn't Have to Shoot Austin Del Castillo, His Friends Say

Categories: News
austin-del-castillo.jpg
Photo by Matthew Hendley


Makeshift memorials for Austin Del Castillo are set up at the corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive in Tempe, where Del Castillo was shot by Tempe police earlier this month.

"Don't believe what the news says[,] the police definitely have a choice," read signs posted at that corner.

After a week in the hospital, Del Castillo died, and his friends obviously disagree with an officer's decision to shoot him.

See also:
-Austin Del Castillo, Man Shot by Tempe Police on Mill Avenue, Dies

Police said Del Castillo, 36, was shot in front of the Chili's restaurant at Mill Avenue and University Drive on the morning of September 19 after lunging at officers with a box cutter.

According to a police spokesman, the officer who shot Del Castillo was responding to calls about a man threatening people on Mill Avenue with a knife or box cutter.

Of the friends we've spoken to, none of them knows what Del Castillo was doing that morning.

But did police really need to shoot a man who was wielding a knife? Isn't there a reason officers carry Tasers?

We're told Del Castillo was well-known in the local rave scene (as evidenced by his friends' comments, and the pacifier in the photo above). A memorial planned for Tempe is in the works, with DJs, club lighting, and all.

Both the shooting and Del Castillo's alleged actions seem out of the ordinary. Many times, people shot by police have had several run-ins with law enforcement before. State and county court records show Del Castillo's most serious run-ins with law enforcement are traffic tickets.

The day before Del Castillo was shot, Maricopa County Bill Montgomery noted that police shootings are on the rise in the county, as he counted 41 this year, which presumably makes Del Castillo's shooting number 42. There were 48 police shootings all of last year, Montgomery said.

It's unfortunate, but Del Castillo's case isn't completely uncommon. Earlier this year, Phoenix police fatally shot a man wielding a table leg. Tempe PD also shot a man who chucked a wine bottle at an officer.

Tempe police said they have nothing to add in Del Castillo's case. His shooter, a 12-year veteran of the department, is on administrative leave.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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131 comments
stoptempepoliceabuse
stoptempepoliceabuse

@TempePoliceLie Excessive Force appears to be common place by Tempe Arizona Police. Federal Courts must extend Racial Profiling to include the Tempe Police Department. Help Stop Tempe Police Abuse...

vivagallegos
vivagallegos

ustin Del Castillo was one of the most compassionate people I have ever met.  His presence was a blessing to all that ever met him on a personal level.  This report has been perverted.  I would like to see testimony of account from the civilian witnesses.  Robert Graham: all comments from the peanut gallery are irrelevant.  We will get down to the bottom of this as a family/community.  The fact that a blue collar construction worker was balling and had to take multiple takes to get an interview from him, tells that justice was not served.  Open up your eyes brothers and sisters.  There was no need to kill this man. God speed the outcome.

redhots
redhots

"""We're told Del Castillo was well-known in the local rave scene (as evidenced by his friends' comments, and the pacifier in the photo above)......"

Wow you guys can say this with a cocky attitude but then you are more then happy to promote other "RAVES" like Wet Electric, and Desert Parties, and EDC.... How dare you judge someone cause there was something hung by his picture. 

Hey guys Newtimes likes stereotype people, but then they are more then welling to promote the events that promote drinking and drugs.... Uhmmm

robert_graham
robert_graham

Tempe cops had every right to shoot him. People cannot go around threatening cops with a box cutter or anything esle and expect not to get shot. It's just that simple. Common-sense will tell you that.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

Im sure the people who contacted the police in the first place have a very different view of what was happening that night then the one's who weren't there. Having a lunatic threating people on the street with a weapon is not a normal night of events.

truther
truther

Austin rapped drugged and raped underage girls, maybe the police were out of line... but at least this piece of shit is off the streets and out of the raves

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

Police shootings and abuse are on the rise everywhere. Its getting to the point it's out of control.

Sooner or later, people are going to start shooting first and or back.

jaevan
jaevan

amazed how people in general consume keywords rendered by source used to echo chamber news reports without facts (box cutter, threatening calls, lunged at officers) keywords used repetitively even out of context generating adverse publicity to this victim/Austin who was wrongfully killed by TPD.. the truth behind the events that ended his life will be known publicly and how the authorities acted. Austin was non-violent with a positive demeanor. he cared about his life, friends, people & celebrating music.

karmavsdogma_42
karmavsdogma_42

Wait a minute. Aren't cops paid and trained to deal with dangerous, potentially deadly situations, without resorting to deadly force? I mean, firing on a suspect in a crowd doesn't seem to be very good police work to me. And where, exactly, is all the camera footage? I've walked downtown Tempe many times, and have looked for the cameras, and there's hardly an inch of real estate down there that isn't under constant surveillance. And witnesses? It was a busy morning, lots of people around, and no one can enlighten us as to what actually happened (other than the cops, who seem to be in total CYA mode)? Even if Austin was being threatening (and these days, cops can get away with seeing someone walking down the street smiling ear to ear and claiming they were being threatened, it seems), 2-3 cops who all outweigh and outclass the kid in the fighting department shouldn't, in my admittedly amateur opinion, need to fire any shots. And, btw, the drugs a raver kid might be on wouldn't likely be taken at 8:00 am on a weekday morning, and wouldn't likely lead to erratic and/or violent behavior.

nvn.rulez
nvn.rulez

Like I said...

...It will all come out in the wash.

Now if you will excuse me, I have other things to do than play with a troll.

LOL!!!  

FrankFunknuckle
FrankFunknuckle

How is a box cutter "deadly" from 15 feet away??!?!?

ESPECIALLY if to multiple officers carrying tazers that have a range of 20+ feet....

Something definitely stinks here.  This happened at rush hour on a busy corner, so why is there no witness video of the incident???  Not to mention the traffic light cams or the cameras on every modern police car and the businesses on every corner of the intersection..   Oh yeah, they HAD no choice - but to confiscate all the video evidence of what actually happened so they could complete their "internal" investigation while the officer who endangered the lives of school children gets a paid vacation.  Of course.  Makes perfect sense!

exiledarizona
exiledarizona

@robert_graham Hey smart guy, the point is that there is evidence that he WAS NOT threatening them with anything.  God damnit why can't people listen

hellguide
hellguide

@john043012 Witnesses that have recently surfaced tell a very different story of the events of that morning.

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@truther Pretty messed up stuff to say about someone you most likely didnt know. I did know him and what your saying is offensive. The guy was one of the kindest guys I've ever met.


hellguide
hellguide

@truther Citation Needed, if you can not present anything then you are simply slandering someone who was apparently adored within his community.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Cozz No, criminals are out of control. What were the officers supposed to do, say PLEASE SIR DON'T CUT ME then offer to shake his hand?

jonnyquest
jonnyquest

If TPD wrongfully killed him, you need to get the facts out. Take your evidence to the mainstream press. Try EJ Montini, Arizona Republic. He has his email and phone number with each of his columns.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@karmavsdogma_42  

Their training says that if they believe their lives are in danger, to use deadly force.

No matter how much you may outweigh an opponent by, it's completely stupid to approach him if he has a cutting blade and you have a gun.

 

FrankFunknuckle
FrankFunknuckle

@nvn.rulez


LOL!  me too.  was fun for a minute tho.
I just wanted to be the top commenter damnit!

valleynative for sheriff!

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@nvn.rulez  

The fact that you can't debate calmly and logically does not make me a troll.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@FrankFunknuckle  

It hasn't been reported specifically, but I believe we can assume that the assailant had two legs and two feet, and was able to move.

That's how a blade can be deadly from 15 feet.

If that's not clear to you without being told, there's not much value to your opinion.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@hellguide So we now have witnesses who contradict the police .Do you really think the cop a 12 year veteran was just waiting that morning hopping to be dispatched to a scene where there was no threating action just so he could shoot someone .Most likely there are recordings of the phone conversations coming into the police department from the people who where threatened and wanted the police to address it.

motherhemp420
motherhemp420

@robert_graham @Cozz  No, the crime index for Phoenix has dropped and has been dropping for a few years.  

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

State officials now say crime in Arizona has gone down significantly.

A new report shows that between 2002 and 2010, the state's crime rate dropped twice as much as the crime did around the country

 http://www.kpho.com/story/16458862/arizona-crime-rate-down  

The police have become militarized in this country.  Your analogy is just plain silly.  I expect the police to act with a measure of  integrity, professionalism and humanity.   That doesn't seem to be happening.  There are too many innocents being shot by the police.  Too many raids on the wrong houses.  Too many family pets killed.  I could show you story after story about serious police misconduct.  It's funny...no one ever thinks there is a problem with the police UNTIL they get messed with.

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@valleynative @karmavsdogma_42

The guy weighed like 120 pounds and if he did have a box cutter while surrounded by police then big freaking deal he has a 2 inch razor vs a army of cops with tasers, shotguns, handguns, and clearly out number him. Why couldn't they shoot him in the leg? Why did she have to shoot him 6 times? You shoot someone 6 times to kill them!! Not to neutralize someone.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Hold on Valley.

We don't know if Mr. Del Castillo was in fear of his own life (which is why he carried a box cutter and presumably wielding it at the time he was shot).

We don't know if Mr. Del Castillo was mentally ill (which, so far, has resulted in 5 mass shootings)

We don't know if Mr. Del Castillo was high on drugs (as a raver, he'd have access to drugs like ecstasy and he may have been using it at the time of his death)

We don't know if the officer who killed Mr. Del Castillo was genuinely in fear of his life (which is what Arizona law requires in order to justify shooting him)

There's just too much we don't know about this. I think we should wait to hear the results of the toxicology report (assuming one was done) and the results of TPD's internal investigation.

BTW, did you hear about the North Carolina police officer who shot and killed the unarmed black man who was seeking help after the black man survived a devastating car accident? The cop was indicted on manslaughter charges I think. And the black man's family is preparing to sue the city for the death to the very best of my knowledge.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@FrankFunknuckle @nvn.rulez  

Keep commenting, and before you know it, you'll be a "top commenter" too.  Some aspire to greatness and some have it thrust upon us.

FrankFunknuckle
FrankFunknuckle

@valleynative @FrankFunknuckle 
Oh right..   I forgot.  Officers aren't trained to physically do anything anymore.  One shot to the knee can make it really hard to travel 15 feet very fast....vs 6 into a school.  That seems way less deadly to me.

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@valleynative @FrankFunknuckle I used to work in a store where I had a box cutter on me 24/7....and I barely even consider a box cutter a blade. A box cutter is the least threatening thing since newborn domesticated kittens. 

nvn.rulez
nvn.rulez

@valleynative @FrankFunknuckle 

15 feet with a blade in the hands of a highly trained person is deadly, this is why the tazer has a 35' range.  

Trust me, Austin was mos def not a highly trained martial artist,

he was a 130lbs fairy wing wearing raver kid.

Jus' sayin' again.

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@valleynative @bigteddy01 @karmavsdogma_42

I have more facts then  you do on this subject. Unless you were there. I have far more real world experience then you presume that I have. And the fact that you would make an assumption about "my experience" by only reading my one response pretty much throws you in the egotistical ass category.

AfRiKaJoNeS
AfRiKaJoNeS

Toxicology was negative, just to be completely clear on that. There is a lot about this incident that is unfortunately unclear, but that fact is not.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967  

Of the factors you list, the only one that matters in the slightest is whether the officers were in fear for their lives.   The fact that they missed several times from relatively close range strongly supports the claim that they were in fear for their lives.  Considering the consequences, it's difficult to think of any other reason they might have chosen to shoot.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@cidkid057  

Tasers are good for unarmed suspects.

If you're about to be killed, you don't choose the weapon that you can only fire once.  

cidkid057
cidkid057

@valleynative @kayla.rev @karmavsdogma_42 >...........and that's when a tazor is to be used, wow is it that hard to realize here that other "forces" could have been used instead! "Ignorance is bliss" I would love to see anyone of you negative people saying the same things about someone you know having the same non violent past have something like this happen to them....

dlee23
dlee23

Or try slicing your arm with the razor from a box cutter or your face... and yes considering there is really no time to think, what happens is usually whatever one knows the best whether from training or good or bad luck.

dlee23
dlee23

I have been cut with a box cutter and it can slice as well as a straight razor, just not as deep... after initially thinking the cop was out of line,I thought about if I was in his shoes and considering how badly I could be hurt, I may have used a firearm with my gut reaction. One swipe of the razor at your neck or thigh could slice open a major artery... and you would bleed out fairly quickly... would I take the chance most likely not but then I also dont normally carry a firearm or taser with me.

randeeturner
randeeturner

@valleynative @kayla.rev @karmavsdogma_42 

So why shoot? they have tasers, there was absolutely no need for the officer to shoot. this was extremely excessive force for someone with a box cutter, they could have easily tased him and disarmed him quickly. not only did they Kill Austin, but they endangered the lifes of everyone else in the area by shooting in a highly populated area... it was reckless and unnecessary. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kayla.rev @valleynative @karmavsdogma_42  

You're fooling yourself.   Police (and citizens taking weapons training classes) practice trying to draw and aim a fake gun before a man with a knife can run at them from 20 feet.  It's surprisingly difficult to react in time.  Just as so many stupid drivers learn when the car in front stops suddenly, human reaction time is never as fast as you imagine, particularly when it involves the decision to take a life.

A man with a box cutter might not be able to kill one of the cops, but he might.  How much of a chance of being killed should a cop accept as just part of the job?   How many times in a year should they accept that risk, over how many years?

 

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@valleynative @kayla.rev @karmavsdogma_42 

Go disassemble a box cutter. There is nothing life threatening in there. 

In a plane, I can see it going a bit differently because there are not very many people on a plane that can actually control the plane.

But he was on Mill Ave at 8 am. 

There is really one one place on the human body the box cutter can make reasonable contact with to create a life threatening wound....the throat... and the distance between the cop's throat and where Austin was standing... that is a little far fetched. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kayla.rev @valleynative @karmavsdogma_42  

That just shows your ignorance.  Again recall that hijackers held entire planes full of passengers at bay with box cutters.   Police are trained not to take foolish chances.

Don't make assumptions about my hypocrisy, please.

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@valleynative @kayla.rev @karmavsdogma_42 

I do not see a box cutter to be life threatening. Especially when held by a 36 year old male, who was not of very large build. 

The second something like this happens to someone you know. I guarantee you will flip the scripts and raise up a shit storm of rage. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kayla.rev @valleynative @karmavsdogma_42  

If your life is being threatened, what sort of idiot puts defense off until "later"?

There's closed-minded, and then there's what we call "grounded in reality".  You might think about the difference.

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@valleynative @kayla.rev @FrankFunknuckle

Again making assumptions about a persons thinking or charector with out knowing a thing about them and platforming yourself as being more experience and more knowledgeable. All your really doing is cementing the fact that your acting like a dick.
Good job top commenter.

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@valleynative @FrankFunknuckle
No your top commenter for sure...making it a point to argue about anything anyone says in here that doesnt agree with degrading the guy who got killed.

Also making snap judgment calls about people with out knowing them and assuming all your lame assumptions about people are correct.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kayla.rev @valleynative @FrankFunknuckle  

I don't trust the government either, but I don't believe any of our local governments are foolish enough to try to cover this up, or competent enough to do so.

You don't want to believe that your friend was in the wrong, and I understand that, but it's clouding your thinking.

A box cutter is a deadly weapon.  If he had one, and particularly if he lunged at the police, then they were unquestionably justified in shooting him dead as a consequence of his tragic mistake.

Your generation (making an assumption there) doesn't like for individuals to have to take responsibility for their actions, but the world forces that upon you now and then, anyway.

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@valleynative @kayla.rev @FrankFunknuckle 

I work in the legal field. I know the law. 

But I do not agree with it. I have the right to question authority and to disagree. I have the right to tell the government when they are wrong. 

A government is mass corruption without it's citizens there to put it in check and tell them when they have gone too far. 

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@valleynative @kayla.rev @FrankFunknuckle 

I think I did actually talk about my views regarding the box cutter. I also mentioned my views on the fact that much of the story release is bullshit. 

I am sorry that wit and sarcasm do not exist in the real world to you. Did you know that there are a lot of good community colleges in Maricopa County? I am sure they might even have classes to meet your needs.  

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kayla.rev @valleynative @FrankFunknuckle  

No, with facts about when it is or is not justified to shoot.  Whether a box cutter is or is not a deadly weapon.  etc.  Some indication that you're vaguely familiar with the real world.

 

nvn.rulez
nvn.rulez

@valleynative @FrankFunknuckle 

Dude.  You crack me up.

Have a beer and bask in your own glow of supremacy.  We will all bow to your omnipotence and wisdom of all ages.


lol

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@FrankFunknuckle @valleynative  

Oh, it's very clear that I'm much smarter,more experienced,and more knowledgeable than you folks.  Try not to let it damage your self-esteem,though.

exiledarizona
exiledarizona

@valleynative @bigteddy01 @nvn.rulez @kayla.rev @FrankFunknuckle Literally, this guy trolls every article and offers literally zero input other than "we should just believe the official story."  Like, the dude is paid to troll for the police union or something.  

Its sad that people are trying to get all of the facts out and people like this who usually only exist ironically at Chilis insert their mainstream don't shake the boat opinion.  

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@nvn.rulez @kayla.rev @valleynative @FrankFunknuckle

Dude seems like a dick. Like he has nothing better to do then argue. He didnt know Austin and he if he did he would probably be taking a different stance on this. Anyone who knew him at all are all puzzled and wondering if this was really necessary and all are saddened by this. Not taking some whatever stance he can to argue anything that may defend the guy who got killed by the police.

bigteddy01
bigteddy01

@kayla.rev @valleynative @nvn.rulez @FrankFunknuckle

I've been told by a couple close friends of his that he apparently did also call the cops and he was also in fear that someone was trying to hurt him. I've also been told that a couple of new eye witnesses have came out and said that he was in begging for his life before the last couple of shots were fired. I dont know how much is all completely true. For Christ sakes they havent even officially said for sure he had a box cutter. They just keep saying on the news that he had something "like" a nife or a box cutter.

dlee23
dlee23

Wow, you can hit a 4 to 6 inch wide moving target consistently... hell they even have a helluva time on Top Shot doing even less rigorous challenges.

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@nvn.rulez @valleynative @FrankFunknuckle 

Considering his display name I bet you he is some older republican with a cowboy hat, thinking that we all live in Arizona....but 70 years in the past. He probably still owns slaves. 

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@valleynative @kayla.rev @nvn.rulez @FrankFunknuckle 

Did he? How do you know he wasn't scared by something? How do you know he didn't call the cops to report something that was threatening him? Maybe Austin was scared, and that was why he was moving around and not standing completely still.  

nvn.rulez
nvn.rulez

@ValleyNative @nvn.rulez @FrankFunknuckle 

Personally, after 9 years in the usmc infantry and working with some special units, I would be ashamed of that king of shooting.  15' in front of myself, and many of my collegues. would equal 6 rounds at center mass in about a 4" group.

Jus' sayin'.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kayla.rev

The fact that their aim was poor actually supports their claim to be in fear for their lives.  Seriously, the real world isn't like TV.

kayla.rev
kayla.rev

@nvn.rulez @FrankFunknuckle @valleynative 

so;  not only is this 12 year veteran someone who is not trained in any other methods....but he also shoots like a chicken with tourettes....lovely.

nvn.rulez
nvn.rulez

@FrankFunknuckle @valleynative 

2 rounds actually hit Chilli's, one lodging in the bar, from what the manager says.

3 hit Austin...

...back of the neck, kidney and the arm.

So that's 5 out of 6...

...hmmm.  Where did that other round go?  Hmmm...

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@cidkid057 @dlee23  

If somebody comes at you with a box cutter, do you stand and let him come, because, as far as you know he hasn't hurt anybody else, yet?   That kind of judgement will get you killed.

cidkid057
cidkid057

@dlee23 well then why didn't he use it on any other individuals before when he had the chance? Your argument would be liable if he already used it to harm another individual...so Ill tell you why, because that kid wouldn't hurt a fly. police are using deadly force as an easy out same as any suicide. easy excuses

dlee23
dlee23

Meh, let me take a couple swipes at you with a box cutter... we then shall see how well your opinion holds up in reality. I used one professionally in the printing for over 20 years and cut myself acciddentally bad enough to require stitches a few timew... and with only 4 years of 10 y/o martial arts experience, it would's be easy to use a box cutter as a deadly weapon... only a fool or someone with more experience/training than I would gamble on the possibility of getting hurt whatsoever.

FrankFunknuckle
FrankFunknuckle

@valleynative @kayla.rev @FrankFunknuckle 
funny how this happened on 9/12.
Guess the cops were so busy and high after celebrating a day of NOT forgetting 9/11 that when that "alleged" box cutter came out,  they apparently forgot about Rodney King.  /:

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@nvn.rulez @valleynative @FrankFunknuckle  

And you believe the police should have known whether or not he was capable of reaching them, and should have risked their very lives on the assumption that he was harmless?

Is that really what you believe, or just what you wish was true?

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