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SDPD Releases Body Camera Footage Of Officer Killing Man In Mountain View Neighborhood

A still from a body-worn camera footage shows the moments after an SDPD polic...

Credit: San Diego Police Department

Above: A still from a body-worn camera footage shows the moments after an SDPD police officer shot and killed 30-year-old Jose Alfredo Castro Gutierrez in the Mountain View neighborhood on Oct. 19, 2020.

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The man was in mental distress and carrying a shower rod. The department waited more than a week to release the footage.

Aired: October 29, 2020 | Transcript

More than a week after a San Diego police officer shot and killed 39-year-old Jose Alfredo Castro Gutierrez in the Mountain View neighborhood, the San Diego Police Department has released body camera footage from the officers involved in the shooting.

Castro, a Mexican citizen and legal permanent resident, was in mental distress in the early hours of Oct. 19, when his neighbors called police.

In the video released by SDPD on Wednesday afternoon, Castro is carrying a shower rod and can be heard yelling “ayudame!” or “help me!,” as he runs from his home. Officers then tell him to drop the shower rod as he runs towards them.

One officer tases Castro, another fires a bean bag round at him. A third officer, two-year veteran Isai Castillo, shoots Castro, killing him.

The videos are from the body cameras of those three officers. Castro screams after he’s shot and falls to the ground. After Castillo fired his gun, someone, either a dispatcher or another officer at the scene, asks if what was fired was a beanbag. Castillo says “handgun.”

In an interview with KPBS, Gene Iredale, the attorney representing Castro’s family, says that Castro had been running to the police looking for help.

“His demeanor and the manner in which he was running, made it very clear he wasn’t really a threat to anybody,” Iredale said. “(The police officer) shot him. He shot him even though it should have been apparent the bean bag shotgun was in play, the taser was available, and even though in the area there were at least several more police officers. This force, we believe, was clearly excessive and entirely inappropriate.”

In a cell phone camera video provided to KPBS by Iredale, Castro appears agitated and paranoid in the moments before the shooting. His neighbor is telling him to calm down, but Castro remains panicked. Castillo shot him minutes later.

The SDPD did not respond to questions from KPBS regarding the delay in releasing the video. In an emailed statement Wednesday, a spokesman said the department is "committed to being open and transparent with the public."

The shooting will be reviewed by the San Diego District Attorney's Office. Also, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office will monitor the investigation.

The shooting was the second killing of a Mexican national in San Diego in recent weeks. Last Friday, another man was shot and killed by Border Patrol agents near the San Ysidro Port-of-Entry following an “altercation” with agents. The San Diego Police Department is handling the investigation into that killing.

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Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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