Denver, CO — In July, Paul Castaway was in the midst of severe mental anguish when his mother called police for help. He had a knife and was threatening to harm himself.
According to Paul’s mother, Lillian Castaway, her son suffered from schizophrenia and struggled with alcoholism. “I called the police for help, not to kill my son,” she said.
When police arrived, however, ‘help’ was the only thing they didn’t do.
In front of multiple witnesses, including children, a DPD officer opened fire on Castaway. He died on the spot, yet police still rolled his dead and bloody body over it and placed handcuffs on him.
“They shot him while the knife was still to his own throat,” said Lillian.
One of the children spoke to the Denver Post and explained what happened. The child explained that Castaway was running when he came to a dead end and then turned to face the police who were in pursuit.
“He held the knife to his neck,” the 15-year-old said. “He came close to them, and that’s when they shot him.”
The boy said Castaway asked officers, “What’s wrong with you guys?” before he was shot. When he saw police shoot the man, the child fainted.
According to the boy’s mother, Guadalupe Barrera, other children witnessed the shooting as well.
“He was probably trying to figure out a place to run. And they didn’t let him go. They trapped him like a mouse, and they killed him,” cousin Rick Morado said.
On Monday, authorities released the surveillance footage which corroborated the witness testimonies. In the graphic video below, we can see Castaway run from police and get cornered. As he turns back toward police, with the knife to his own throat, an officer puts three rounds in him.
As he lay bleeding on the ground, police, instead of pulling the knife out of his hand and rendering first aid, cuff him and sit on his dying body.
Many people will say that the officer was justified in shooting a man who walked toward them with a knife pointed at his throat. However, if police wish to be held to the higher standard that they so often demand, shooting a man who they simply could have backed away from is no way to get there.
In fact, there are cops who do show heroism in the face of danger. Simply look at the actions of New Richmond Police Officer Jesse Kidder, who was attempting to arrest a man in April of this year, who had allegedly murdered his best friend and his fiance. The officer was warned by a dispatcher that the man may attempt suicide by cop and that he was armed.
In the extremely intense body cam footage, Wilcox is seen with his hand by his pocket while repeatedly lunging towards the officer after a car chase by the Ohio/Kentucky border came to an end.
“He jumped out and he sprinted towards me. I had my firearm already drawn on me, and I told him to put his hands up in the air and he was screaming as he was yelling, ‘Shoot me, shoot me’,” Kidder told WLWT. “I was trying to open a dialogue with him. ‘I don’t want to shoot you, get on the ground,’ but he wasn’t having it. He kept repeating, ‘Shoot me.’ At one point, he said ‘Shoot me or I’ll shoot you.’”
Despite being in a situation where the shooting would have absolutely been ruled justified, the brave officer refused to shoot, even after he fell backwards and found himself in a very vulnerable position.
“No man, I’m not going to do it!” Kidder responded to the man who was demanding to be shot.
After Kidder gets back on his feet we hear the sound of backup arriving, and Wilcox lays down and surrenders. He was safely taken into custody, and neither the Wilcox or Kidder families are left having to plan a funeral.
After watching the video below, the actions of the officers in the video above, appear a less than brave.