SAN DIEGO — Content warning: Video in this story depicts the fatal shooting of a man along with profanities and may not be suitable for all viewers.
The San Diego Police Department on Wednesday released video footage of a fatal officer-involved shooting of a man who charged SDPD personnel last week carrying a curtain rod during a destructive predawn rampage in a Mountain View-area neighborhood.
The images, captured by officers' body-worn cameras and a home surveillance system, show Jose Alfredo Castro-Gutierrez running out of a home in the 300 block of South Pardee Street on Oct. 19, then bursting out of a front gate onto a sidewalk where police were approaching.
As Castro-Gutierrez sprinted toward the officers, screaming and clutching the black metal rod, one fired a beanbag shotgun at him, another deployed an electric stun gun, and Officer Isai Castillo shot him with his service pistol, Lt. Matt Dobbs said.
Castro-Gutierrez was struck by at least one round and pronounced dead at a hospital later that morning, Dobbs said.
Hearing her husband scream for help on San Diego Police officer body-worn camera, Ana Ojeda, the wife of Jose Alfredo Castro-Gutierrez was in tears.
“I know he needed help, and he [didn't] want to harm anybody. [He] just need[ed] help,” Ojeda said.
Ojeda said she and her 39-year-old husband and father of their 1-year-old baby girl Allegra are Mexican citizens. He was permitted to work in the U.S. for a construction job.. While he was staying in a Mountain View home on Oct. 19, the homeowner said he started behaving erratically.
“He was saying 'I'm afraid. They're going to get me. They are talking loud,'" said Ojeda's attorney Gene Iredale.
Iredale said Castro-Gutierrez may have been suffering from schizophrenia and became paranoid.
"Jose Alfredo asked for help, and unfortunately instead of getting help, he got three separate gifts from the San Diego police department: a taser, a bean bag propelled by a shotgun and a bullet,” Iredale said.
Iredale said the officers involved used excessive force and there appeared to be a failure in communication in dealing with someone in mental crisis.
“His last words were 'help me,'” he said.
The events that led to the shooting began shortly before 4:30 a.m., when a woman made an emergency call to report that Castro-Gutierrez -- whom she described as a houseguest -- was smashing windows and other things at her family's residence. She told dispatchers she thought he "might be on drugs," and said his actions had prompted her 16-year-old daughter to lock herself in a room.
Soon, other 911 callers began reporting the violent outburst as well.
"The residents described the man's behavior as paranoid and said he ripped a metal curtain rod from the window and began breaking windows and other objects in the home. A neighbor also heard the commotion and called 911, reporting [that] it sounded like someone was being tortured," the lieutenant said.
As patrol officers approached the residence a short time later, they were able to see Castro-Gutierrez inside through a front window, yelling and breaking things, Dobbs said. They gave him repeated directions to exit the home peacefully but got no response.
A short time later, Castro-Gutierrez ran outside and charged the officers, police said.
SDPD showed an evidence photo of a metal rod they said Castro-Gutierrez had in his hand as he charged outside and say he dropped it after the shots were fired. Officers detained him and provided first aid until paramedics arrived before Castro-Gutierrez died at the hospital.
“He was a hard worker for his family, loved by so many friends and was very kind, he worked every day for my daughter and for me and he protected us, and they had no empathy. They were so cold,” Ojeda said.
After an investigation of the case by the SDPD Homicide Unit and reviews by various oversight agencies, the District Attorney's Office will determine whether Castillo, a two-year member of the San Diego Police Department, acted within the bounds of the law in using lethal force against Castro-Gutierrez.