It happened. Again. Philando Castile, 32 – who is black – was shot and killed by a white police officer after he and his girlfriend were pulled over for a broken taillight in the small village of Falcon Heights, Minn., just northeast of Minneapolis. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, started live-streaming the incident to Facebook from her phone after Castile was shot.
In the video, Castile is seen with his head cocked back in the driver’s seat, dazed, looking skyward – his white T-shirt soaked in blood. Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter is in the backseat the whole time. “He’s covered. He killed my boyfriend,” Diamond says, in a matter-of-fact tone of voice – at first.
The officer, gun still drawn and trained on the bloody Castile, appears much more agitated outside the vehicle and shouts, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it!”
The shooting occured just a day after the death of Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
Reynolds maintains her boyfriend had a concealed-carry permit and did have a firearm on his person but was merely reaching for his driver’s license and registration when the officer fired four rounds into his arm and torso just after 9 p.m. Wednesday.
As Reynolds continues filming from her cell phone, in a monotone voice, she can be heard saying, “He just shot his arm off. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone.” But as the nine-minute video progresses, she becomes more desperate and incensed, begging, “Please, Jesus, no. Please, no. Please, no, don’t let him be gone.”
Officers remove Reynolds and her 4-year old daughter from the car, handcuff Reynolds, and place them both in the back of a patrol car, where Reynolds can be heard crying and wailing. Her daughter says, “It’s OK, I’m right here with you.”
St. Anthony’s Police Department is not releasing the name of the officer who shot Castile, but he has been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is ongoing, according to a notice on the St. Anthony’s Village website.
St. Anthony’s Village and the cities of Falcon Heights and Lauderdale have a shared services agreement that coordinates law enforcement services between the three communities. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Assistance is investigating along with other law enforcement agencies.
“This is a tragic event and our communities are committed to working with the BCA and other agencies to fully investigate all aspects of this incident and will share as much information as possible as the process moves forward,” the statement reads. “The communities are continuing to monitor the situation and will continue to share information with the community as appropriate.”
Calls placed to the St. Anthony’s Police Department were referred to a public information officer, who did not immediately return calls seeking additional comment.
As of Thursday morning, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner was still conducting the autopsy on Castile, but sources inside the office say the likely cause of death will be multiple gunshot wounds at close range. He was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center late Wednesday night.
Reynolds told reporters her boyfriend worked as a cafeteria supervisor within the St. Paul Public School District and was beloved for his friendly demeanor and cheerful disposition.
VIDEO OF REYNOLDS FROM EARLIER TODAY