DENVER — A Denver police officer will not face any charges related to the shooting death of Paul Castaway in July, according to a report from District Attorney Mitch Morrissey released Monday.
Castaway’s family is not satisfied with the findings and plans to file a lawsuit against the Denver Police Department.
On July 12, Castaway’s mother called police reporting her son was mentally ill, drunk and that he poked her with a knife. She told dispatch, “He would rather go out killing himself.”
“My son was having a manic episode,” Lynn Eagle Feather said. “He’s schizophrenic, he wasn’t in the right mind that day. I called for help, not to have my son killed.”
After a foot chase with police, officers found Castaway with a large knife that he pointed at his throat. According to the DA’s report, Castaway said “If you shoot me, I’m going to kill myself.”
“They’re trying to say it’s suicide,” Eagle Feather said. “No, my son wanted to live.”
After moving toward police with the knife, officer Michael Traudt fired three shots at Castaway and said in the report, “I thought he was going to stab me with the knife. I thought he was going to kill me.”
“Try that sometime and think what you would do if somebody was crazed and coming at you with a 12-inch knife,” Regis University criminology professor Don Lindley said. “What would you do? There’s no doubt what these officers did, they better do that or they’re not going home.”
Lindley says he agrees with the DA’s report.
“The DA made a perfect decision. There’s no question in my mind this officer did what he had to do and you what that ought to be the end of it but it won’t be, it won’t be,” he said.