Reports released in controversial Tempe police shooting

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 11:21 AM

Map: University and Mill

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tempe Police released witness and officer statements surrounding a deadly officer-involved shooting on Mill Avenue in September.

In 911 calls, people said a man is walking around the busy intersections, threatening people with a box cutter, and also cutting himself. Two women ran into a Starbucks to hide.

When officers arrived, their suspect, 36-year-old Austin Del Castillo, would not drop the box cutter.

In the newly released reports, police claim Del Castillo charged them. One wrote they "feared for their lives."

One officer opened fire, shooting the man at least three times. He later died at the hospital.  

However, witnesses have also come forward, who question the use of deadly force.

"I wondered why wasn't anything else, like a Taser, used first before shooting this man?" Boyd Branch said to 3TV.

Branch, a professor at Arizona State University, was preparing for class when he witnessed the confrontation and shooting.

"He definitely did not lunge. It was a stumble, but it didn't strike me as an attacking motion," Branch added.

Del Castillo was around 15 feet away from the officers when he was shot.

Tempe Police will not comment on the case since it is still under investigation.

The officer who fired his gun was on leave, per policy, but is back on duty.

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