DENVER — The mother of a man shot and killed by a Denver police officer on Sunday night spoke out for the first time since the incident. It was her plea for help that brought police to her door–and eventually led to her son’s death.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Lynn Eagle Feather said.
She can’t help but regret calling police Sunday after her son, Paul Castaway, threatened her with a knife at her home.
“He didn’t stab me in the neck. He was drunk. I told the cops he was mentally ill. He was schizophrenic. I called for help. I didn’t call for them to kill him,” she said.
Her son ran toward Capitol City mobile home park across the street.
“All of a sudden, I heard rapid gunfire. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. One right after the other,” she said.
She knew what had happened. Her son, whose life, she said, was spiraling out of control, had suddenly lost his life.
“I’ll never see him and hug him. Never tell him I love him,” Eagle Feather said.
The shooting happened outside the park office, where surveillance cameras captured the shooting. It shows Castaway running through a yard, onto the street and around a wooden fence.
That’s when he realized he was trapped, turned around and headed back to the street with a knife to his neck. Police opened fire and he fell to the ground.
“What’s wrong with you guys? Those are the last words uttered from Paul Castaway’s mouth as he lie there dying,” said Thomas Morado, who sports a T-shirt with that quote on the back.
Witnesses to the shooting told the family that’s what Castaway said. Now, they can’t help but feel he didn’t have to die.
But shooting experts say police would have been justified in pulling the trigger if Castaway was within 21 feet of an officer. Studies show officers can be stabbed within that distance. Castaway was within 6 feet.
It’s still hard for Castaway’s family to understand. Even as support for their family builds, it won’t do anything to bring back a man who they had loved for 35 years. Castaway leaves behind a 3-year-old son.
The officer who shot him is on administrative leave during the investigation. Police said the surveillance video will help them determine how the shooting unfolded.