The wife of a man who was shot and killed by San Diego Police officers in Mountain View last month has filed a claim against the City of San Diego.
Ana Ojeda, Alfredo Castro-Gutierrez's wife, and infant daughter have filed a claim against the City of San Diego alleging negligence, battery, wrongful death, and state and federal civil rights violations.
"The irreplaceable death of my husband, friend, and father of my daughter, has been a constant pain and intent to understand why things happened this way. The void his death leaves forces us to reorganize all our life, our plans, jobs, emotions, beliefs and expectations. Now he is not here and we claim for justice in order to review the excessive use of force used by the police," Ojeda said in a release.
Alfredo Castro-Gutierrez, 39, was shot and killed by SDPD officer Isai Castillo, a two-year veteran of the department's Southeastern Division, after a report of a disturbance at a home along the 300 block of South Pardee Street on October 19.
SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said officers received a call about a half-hour earlier from residents of the home who reported a man who was staying there as a guest was acting "paranoid," and had ripped a metal curtain rod from the wall and was breaking windows and other things inside.
When officers arrived, Dobbs said they set up their command post a short distance away from the home so they could call for resources and plan how to safely respond to the call.
As a group of three officers then made their way toward the home, and as they approached they could see Castro-Gutierrez through the window and could hear him yelling and breaking things, Dobbs said.
Officers gave the Castro-Gutierrez commands in English and Spanish but were given no response.
As they were getting into position to try and negotiate with him, Castro-Gutierrez crawled out of a broken window and made his way toward the gate of the property. Then, Castro-Gutierrez ran at officers, curtain rod in hand, according to Dobbs.
One of the officers deployed a stun gun, and another a bean bag round. The third officer fired his handgun, hitting the man at least once, Dobbs said.
Castro-Gutierrez fell to the ground.
Dobbs said the officers gave him medical aid and called medics. He was taken to a local hospital where he died a short time later, the captain confirmed. No one else was hurt.
The family's attorney alleges that the multiple gunshots was entirely avoidable.
"Jose Alfredo had been shot with a round from a 'beanbag' shotgun, which forced him to the ground, and was immobilized by a Taser which was discharged in probe mode, resulting in his inability to move," Eugene Iredale, legal attorney of Mr. Castro Gutiérrez’ widow said.
The attorney said there was an absence of tactical planning and "the reckless failure to recognize that less-lethal means had already immobilized Jose Alfredo make his death more than a tragedy."
"His wife and child seek more than recompense for his needless death. They ask that the new mayor, Mr. Gloria, the recently elected San Diego City Council and the soon to be established San Diego Commission on Police Practices undertake a review of this case to analyze the lessons it holds. (…) Ana Ojeda hopes that the suffering which she now experiences will never haunt another wife or mother," Iredale said in a statement.
After the shooting, the Mexican Consulate in San Diego got involved as Castro-Gutierrez is a Mexican national. They asked local authorities for a "transparent, impartial and expeditious investigation to clarify the facts and establish responsibilities."
"The Mexican Consulate in San Diego reaffirms its absolute commitment to the defense and protection of Mexican nationals abroad. We will take all the measures at hand in order to defend the best interest of our nationals. We demand the county authorities treat this case with the seriousness that all criminal investigations require," Carlos González Gutiérrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego said in a statement.
NBC 7 reached out to San Diego police for an update on the investigation and said they had no updates or comments.