On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

BCA identifies officer who killed Philando Castile

Share story

An officer points his gun into a vehicle.
An officer points his gun into a vehicle as a man in the driver's seat is bleeding and the woman next to him is filming live video on Facebook during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., on July 6, 2016.
Facebook Live

Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the St. Anthony Police Department fired the shots that killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop Wednesday night, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said.

Yanez and Officer Joseph Kauser, who was working alongside Yanez, have been placed on administrative leave. Both have been with the department for four years, according to the BCA on Thursday.

The BCA's investigation is ongoing. Once complete, the bureau says it will give findings to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office "without recommendation for review under Minnesota statutes."

The bureau says squad car video, among other footage and witness interviews, has been taken as evidence. St. Anthony police don't wear body cameras, according to the BCA.

At about 9:05 p.m. Wednesday, the officers pulled over the car Castile was driving in Falcon Heights, Minn., the BCA said. Castile's girlfriend said the reason was a broken taillight.

"Officer Yanez approached the vehicle from the driver's side and Officer Kauser from the passenger side," the BCA's statement said. "At one point during the interaction, Officer Yanez discharged his weapon, striking Castile multiple times."

Officer Jeronimo Yanez at Law Enforcement Memorial
Officer Jeronimo Yanez took part in the Standing of the Memorial Guard event as part of Law Enforcement Memorial Day and National Peace Officer's Day in May, 2014.
City of St. Anthony

After shots were fired, Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, began live streaming video on Facebook. The footage showed a frantic police officer yelling expletives and Castile bleeding heavily in the driver's seat, with Reynolds narrating the scene for social media, at times talking to her young daughter in the backseat.  

Roseville police officers also responded, the BCA said, and members of the St. Paul Fire Department took Castile, 32, from the car and gave medical attention until an ambulance came.

The BCA says Castile was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. The time of death was 9:37 p.m. and the cause was multiple gunshot wounds.

Officers took Reynolds and her daughter to the Roseville Police Department, according to the BCA. Once there, Reynolds gave a statement to investigators and a Roseville police officer took her home.

The St. Anthony Police Department has about two dozen full-time officers and a $3.3 million budget. Its longtime chief, John Ohl, retired this spring after more than 30 years of service.

The police department provides services for both Lauderdale and Falcon Heights as part of a long-term relationship, and eight St. Anthony officers' salaries are covered by the contracts, according to the department's 2015 annual report.

In 2015, the St. Anthony Police Department issued, on average, 18 citations a day and made five arrests, according to the report. About 80 percent of the arrests were traffic-related.

Ohl's was one of two retirements this year; Capt. Dominic Cotroneo also retired. Sgt. Jon Mangseth was promoted to chief, and Sgt. Jeff Spiess is the new captain.

The department participated in diversity training in 2014 and has engaged the community in discussions about diversity among police officer ranks and recent tensions between police and communities of color.

Ohl shared his own perspective on the national outcry over police killings of black civilians during an interview with the Park Bugle, a community newspaper, in May.

He said St. Anthony police have had a good relationship with their communities but said the heightened attention on shooting incidents have made it difficult to recruit.

"But nothing's significantly broken in law enforcement right now. We are better trained, better selected, better educated, held to more standards, more accountable, and with better policies than ever before in U.S. history. We are moving forward constantly. What more are we supposed to do?" Ohl told the Bugle.

Ohl did not immediately return a message left Thursday by MPR News.

The freelancer who published the story, Bill Lindeke, has since published a full transcript of the interview.

"Last night after I read the news about Philando Castile, it came back to me that this was a really interesting conversation in retrospect," Lindeke said in an interview. "They show his perspective and I think some of the challenges we have in creating a dialogue between community members, people of color and the police, even in places as seemingly pastoral as St. Anthony and Falcon Heights."