AG: Officers legally justified in using deadly force in hostage-taking incident

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ATTORNEY General Edward Manibusan is supporting Chief Prosecutor John Bradley’s conclusion that officers were legally justified in using deadly force in the hostage-taking incident last March.

“The community deserves to know what happened,” Manibusan said in a statement Monday. “When officers use deadly force against a person, there should be an independent, detailed review of what happened and an evaluation of whether those officers acted within the law. This review focuses on whether the officers were criminally responsible for the use of deadly force.”

Bradley, with the assistance of the AG’s office investigative division, conducted an independent evaluation of the actions of Department of Public Safety officers who used deadly force in attempting to arrest Gordon Castro, 31.

Castro died after local and federal law enforcement agents breached the house where he had barricaded himself with his girlfriend, Kisha Lyn M. King, as hostage on the early morning hours of March 12, 2020.

The hostage situation lasted for more than 36 hours and involved more than 50 federal and local law enforcers and first responders.

Bradley’s six-page report details the lengthy violent criminal history of Castro, the relevant laws related to using deadly force, and the relevant facts of Castro escaping arrest for a felony warrant and using the 32-year-old King as a hostage, the AG said.

The report, he added, also recommends that the Legislature consider restricting the release of repeat violent offenders on bond and the ways to improve civil commitment and mental health treatment.

Castro, who had a history of mental illness, was on felony probation and had been released on two felony drug charges at the time he escaped from officers and fired at them with a handgun.

Bradley concluded that a team of five DPS officers were justified in arming themselves and using deadly force against Castro after he began firing at them when they attempted to arrest him, Manibusan said.

The report, copies of which were shared with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, and DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero, also recommends the development of more detailed laws and regulations on the use of deadly force by police officers.

The investigative reports, documents, and other materials used in preparing the report remain confidential under government disclosure, medical, and mental health laws, the AG stated.

His statement did not indicate from whom Castro obtained the handgun he used in the hostage-taking incident.

In 2015, Castro was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and disturbing the peace for holding his family hostage for seven hours at his house in Afetna.

In 2019, Castro was charged with possession and trafficking of methamphetamine.




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