University/Mill shooting: Man with box cutter shot after charging at officer

TEMPE, AZ - Police say a man is in critical condition after he was shot by an officer Thursday morning close to the ASU Tempe campus.

Around 8:15 a.m. 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 the suspect, 36-year-old Austin Del Castillo, in front of the restaurant with the weapon displayed.

Sgt. Steven Carbajal said in an e-mail Thursday afternoon that 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.

Castillo was taken to a local hospital where he is listed in critical condition with what are believed to be life-threatening injuries.

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, has been placed on administrative leave, per department policy.

Print this article Back to Top