Suspect shot by Tempe PD after allegedly threatening officers has died


by Catherine Holland

Video reports by Casey James, Jill Galus, Bruce Haffner and Gina Maravilla

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 18 at 6:54 PM

Map: University and Mill

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TEMPE, Ariz. – The man who was shot by Tempe police after allegedly threatening officers has died.

Police said 36-year-old Austin Del Castillo died on Wednesday.

The incident between Castillo and police happened last Thursday morning outside the Chili’s restaurant on the corner of University Drive and Mill Avenue.

Aerial video from the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper showed crime tape stretching across the streets and several police vehicles on the scene.

Police responded after receiving multiple calls about a man threatening people with either a box cutter or a knife.

Officers responded to the area of Fifth Street and Mill Avenue to see what was happening.

"One of the officers spotted the individual over by the Chili's," Tempe police Sgt. Steve Carbajal explained.

Witnesses who talked to 3TV's Jill Galus said it looked like a young man with what appeared to be a box cutter in his hand was lunging at officers.

Carbajal said Castillo refused to comply with the officers' verbal commands to drop his weapon. A trained negotiator also tried to talk to Castillo in an effort to convince him to drop his weapon.

Castillo continued to refuse. The situation escalated from there.

Carbajal said Castillo charged at one of the officers with what was later found to be a box cutter. 

That officer shot Castillo. He was transported to a local hospital where he was initially said to be in critical condition with what were believed to be life-threatening injuries.

The officer was not injured.

At this point, it's not clear how many shots were fired. Also, police have very little information about Castillo and what might have prompted his actions.

Carbajal said the officer is a 12-year veteran of the Tempe Police Department. The officer was placed on administrative leave as per department protocol.

The intersection, one of Tempe's busiest, was closed for several hours while detectives worked to piece together the events leading up to the shooting.