Lawyers: Castile was reaching for gun when officer shot him

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

ST. PAUL — Attorneys for a Minnesota police officer accused of fatally shooting a black man during a traffic stop said Philando Castile’s gun was accessible and that he was reaching for it when he was killed.

A memo filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court contradicts prosecutors’ claims that St. Anthony Officer Jeronimo Yanez didn’t see the weapon and made conflicting statements about it.

Yanez is charged in Ramsey County with manslaughter and two other felonies in the July 6 killing of the 32-year-old school cafeteria employee in Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath of the shooting live on Facebook.

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The memo says the shots fired by Yanez, who is Latino, “were intentional and justified.”

A judge will hear arguments and issue a decision Feb. 15.