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Video shows man killed by Las Vegas police wielded 8-inch knife

Updated March 19, 2024 - 7:35 pm

A Las Vegas police officer shot a man dead as the man charged at the officer in the middle of a major street while wielding an 8-inch kitchen knife he had just stolen from a nearby Target store, according to police and body-camera footage played during a news conference Tuesday.

Ismael Barney Castillo, 29, was fatally shot by Sgt. Brett Brosnahan on East Flamingo Road west of Maryand Parkway after police were called just after 7:40 p.m. on March 13 to a report of an attempted carjacking, a senior Metropolitan Police Department official said in a news conference Tuesday.

Assistant Sheriff Jamie Prosser outlined what police said were the circumstances of the incident and showed video and still images taken from police bodyworn camera and store surveillance footage.

According to Prosser, the incident began when police responded to reports of a man later identified as Castillo attempting to carjack somebody, reportedly with a pocket knife, in the parking lot of a store in the 4000 block of Maryland Parkway, just north of Flamingo.

Castillo then ran into the store, where he stole an 8-inch Cuisinart kitchen knife, Prosser said, without naming the store or giving its specific address. Video footage showing Target logos on nearby shopping carts made it obvious Castillo was inside the Target at 4001 South Maryland Parkway.

In surveillance video shown Tuesday, a visibly agitated Castillo is seen pacing near the front of the store while holding the knife. There was no audio in the video, but 911 callers told dispatchers Castillo was yelling and screaming, Prosser said.

Castillo then left the store and ran south to Flamingo Road between Maryland Parkway and Cambridge Street. More callers reported to police that Castillo was still armed.

Officers arrived to find Castillo, carrying the knife, pacing the parking lot of the strip mall at 1040 E. Flamingo, just east of Cambridge.

The police body-camera footage showed officers repeatedly telling Castillo to drop the knife and Castillo not doing so.

“Drop the knife and get on the ground now!” Brosnahan is heard shouting at Castillo. Brosnahan also can be heard instructing other officers to use less-lethal options.

“Sgt. Brosnahan immediately ordered Castillo to drop the knife, but he refused,” Prosser said.

Video footage from a nearby store shows about a half-dozen officers on the street, including Brosnahan, facing Castillo when Castillo walked on to Flamingo and then started running toward Brosnahan.

Still armed with the knife, Castillo kept walking until he appeared to suddenly run toward Brosnahan and the other officers, the video showed.

“Castillo rapidly closed the distance between himself and Sgt. Brosnahan, causing Sgt. Brosnahan to discharge his firearm,” Prosser said.

Brosnahan fired six rounds from his Glock 17 handgun, Prosser said.

“As you can see from this still image, Castillo still had the knife as he ran toward Sgt. Brosnahan,” Prosser said.

Another officer fired a less-lethal round while another “discharged their electronic control device,” Prosser said. Such devices are also commonly known as Tasers or stun guns.

Castillo was pronounced dead at the scene.

Had Castillo survived, Prosser said, he would’ve faced multiple charges including two counts of attempted murder on a protected person, one count of robbery with a deadly weapon, and one count of resisting with a weapon.

It was the third police shooting in 2024, all of which have been fatal, Prosser said. That’s compared with one such police shooting by the same time of the year in 2023.

Asked what might have accounted for Castillo’s actions or if he might have been experiencing a mental health breakdown, Prosser said, “I can’t speak to his personal background.”

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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