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The family of a man who was shot and killed outside of his business earlier this month claims police could have done more to save his life, but Miami Police say officers rendered aid and followed protocol.
Walter Castaneda, 64, was shot on Oct. 1 as he was closing up shop at his Boost Mobile store on Northwest 12th Avenue and 5th Street. A man in an orange hoodie had approached him to steal a bag of money.
Castaneda himself was armed and shot back at the suspect who robbed him.
Upon arrival, officers realize Castaneda has a gun and ask him to let go of it. In the bodycam footage, police manage to grab the firearm from the victim’s hands and then put his hands behind his back to search for more weapons.
Upset bystanders start yelling at police, telling cops Castaneda is the owner of the store and the victim. Some recorded the encounter on their cellphones, prompting Castaneda’s family to seek legal advice.
“We’re just asking for justice and just to ask why he was treated like that by the police,” Walter Castaneda Jr., the victim’s son, said earlier this month.
Police say the officers who responded followed protocol and did what they are trained to do — they removed the firearm from the victim and rendered aid.
The victim’s son says the reason for the shooting was robbery and his grandchildren were nearby. NBC 6’s Laura Rodriguez reports from Little Havana.
“There’s a lot that goes through an officer’s mind. We don’t know if the man is still holding on to the trigger or he can voluntarily or involuntarily pull that trigger,” said Miami Police Spokesperson Kenia Fallat. “There’s a lot of factors here. We don’t know if he has secondary weapons. First thing we have to do is make sure that weapon is safe and away from the body and also away from potentially putting his or her hands on additional secondary weapons on the body.”
Castañeda’s son feels police could have done more to save his father’s life.
“Why didn’t they call 911, the ambulance, to move my dad? Why did they treat him like that?” he said.
The bodycam footage shows an officer rendering aid until paramedics arrive.
“When the officers are dispatched to a person shot, immediately fire rescue is already dispatched simultaneously. Now the officers sometimes respond first and other times fire rescue personnel may arrive first,” Fallat said.
NBC 6 reached out to Castaneda’s attorney to know if the family will be moving forward with legal action, but we have not received a response.
At this time, the suspect remains on the run. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.