TEMPE, AZ - A man who was shot by a Tempe police officer after he allegedly threatened him with a box cutter has died, according to police.
Tempe police spokesman Steven Carbajal said 36-year-old Austin Del Castillo passed away Wednesday at a local hospital.
Around 8:15 a.m. Thursday, September 12, Tempe police received a call of a disturbance at University Drive and Mill Avenue, in front of a Chili's restaurant.
According to Tempe police, a witness called 911 saying a man was threatening people with a knife or box cutter.
Responding officers reportedly found Del Castillo in front of the restaurant with the weapon displayed.
Carbajal said Castillo refused to obey officers' commands to drop the item.
Castillo then charged at the officer with what was later found to be a box cutter, Carbajal said.
The officer pulled out his service weapon and shot Castillo.
Some witnesses to the shooting questioned if the situation could have been handled another way. They worried about it happening in the middle of such a busy intersection.
"Three shots, to stop a guy with a box cutter, that was a little outrageous," said a witness who did not want to be named. "And with crowded streets, people walking around."
He says he won't get the image of the suspect, laying on the ground in a pool of blood, out of his mind.
"I am upset. It's a very disturbing thing to be done in a public place," he said.
The officer, a 12-year veteran, was placed on administrative leave, per department policy.
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