Groups seek answers after San Diego police officers shoot, kill Mexican man with mental health issues

California

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Mexican officials and representatives of prominent civil rights organizations are demanding a thorough investigation into the deadly police shooting of a Mexican man whose family said was diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia.

San Diego police officers shot and killed 39-year-old Jose Alfredo Castro on Oct. 19.

During a teleconference on Thursday morning, Consul General of Mexico Carlos González Gutiérrez a representative of American Friends Service Committee and Castro’s widow questioned whether the San Diego police officers might have misinterpreted a call for help from Castro.

Initially, the San Diego Police Department had received an early-morning call about a man inside a home screaming and breaking windows with a curtain rod.

On a body-camera video released by the San Diego Police Department, you can hear an officer calling out to Castro as he walks up to the house, “Alfredo, this is San Diego Police, come outside.”

Seconds later, the video shows a man wearing shorts and a T-shirt running out of a house and onto a sidewalk where he is confronted by the officers.

They fired a bean bag, taser and a bullet that killed the 39-year-old Mexican national who was a legal resident in this country. Castro died later at a nearby hospital.

“He actually had planned to call police for help. Unfortunately, when the police arrived he came out yelling with mixture of despair and help,” said Ana Ojeda, Castro’s widow.

According to Ojeda, her husband was diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia.

Just before Castro runs toward the officers, you can hear someone yelling “ayuda,” which means help in Spanish.

Ojeda and others insist it was Castro screaming for help.

“He was calling for help in Spanish,” said Pedro Rios, with the American Friends Service Committee. “At least one Spanish-speaking officer was outside and should have identified this as a crisis that required mental help to address it as mental health emergency. Instead, San Diego Police confronted (Castro) and escalated the situation with deadly violence.”

Mexico’s Consulate in San Diego organized a teleconference, in which Castro’s widow, Rios and others spoke out asking for further investigation into the shooting.

“We will take all measures at hand in order to defend the best interests of our nationals,” Gonzalez said.

Border Report has reached out to the San Diego Police Department for comment about the officers possibly mistaking the call for help for aggression, but the Department has not responded.

Castro’s widow has hired an attorney and has begun proceedings seeking a settlement from the city of San Diego and its police department.

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