Two Tucson police officers have been cleared in an April shootout with a suspect who “thought it was his chance to kill a cop,” according to a letter from the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
Sgt. Christopher Dennison and Officer David Schneider were cleared in the April 11 shooting that left Michael Castillo, 36, injured.
On the night of the shooting, Tucson police officers were preparing to serve a search warrant at Castillo’s apartment in the 2600 block of North 14th Avenue, in connection to suspected drug crimes. The apartment is on the north side near the intersection of North Oracle and West Grant roads.
While waiting for additional officers, Dennison and Schneider saw Castillo leave his apartment. Officers decided to detain him in the parking lot of the complex pending the search, Kellie Johnson, chief criminal deputy for the county attorney, stated in a letter of finding.
Castillo was in the parking lot talking to two men when several officers approached the trio. Castillo fled on foot through the apartment complex, with Dennison, Schneider and a third officer in pursuit.
During the chase Castillo turned toward the officers, pointed a gun at them and fire a shot, Johnson said.
Dennison and Schneider returned fire. Castillo, who was wounded, dropped his gun and fell to the ground.
“While Mr. Castillo was on the ground, Officer Schneider could see Mr. Castillo reaching toward the gun on the ground. Officer Schneider fired at Mr. Castillo again” before kicking the gun out of reach, Johnson said.
Castillo, whose face is covered with tattoos, remains hospitalized as a result of the shooting, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department. Charges are pending against him once he is booked into the Pima County jail.
During an interview with detectives, Castillo told them “he never liked the police,” Johnson said.
Castillo told them a family member had been shot and killed by a Tucson police officer in 2012 and “he wanted to retaliate for that shooting by killing a police officer. He admitted to shooting at the officers and stated that he ‘thought it would be his chance to kill a cop,’ ” Johnson wrote.
On Sept. 15, 2012, a Tucson police officer shot and killed Johnny Castillo-Romero at a south side apartment complex. Castillo-Romero was related to Castillo, Dugan said.
Police responded to the complex after a man called 911 to report Castillo-Romero shot at him during an argument. When an officer arrived, Castillo-Romero, who was in a wheelchair, pointed a gun at him and was shot and killed. That shooting was deemed justified as well.