Neighbors heard no struggle before Deputy fired gun;17-yr.-old failed to comply with order to drop metal object, was killed

Los Angeles Times

Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer

Neighbors of a 17-year-old shot and killed Friday in his garage by a Riverside County sheriff's deputy said Saturday that they didn't hear shouting or a scuffle before the teen died.

"No one said, 'Freeze.' Nothing," said Rafael Zamora, 12, who was in his frontyard in the Moreno Valley neighborhood during the confrontation. "Only his stepdad after, saying, 'They shot him.' "

The shooting occurred after the teenager allegedly lunged at the deputy with a metal object -- described as resembling a 15-inch pipe -- and failed to drop it despite repeated orders.

Neighbors identified the boy as Israel Castaneda.

The deputy, whose name was not released, had answered a call from the home shortly before 5 p.m. Friday.

About a dozen people live in the small, beige house in the 14000 block of Kennebec Court, neighbors said.

The teenager may have been "threatening" relatives, said Deputy Craig Roberts. "It was a lot more than being loud and unruly."

The teen had smashed at least one window earlier in the day during a fight with his stepfather, neighbors said.

Roberts said the youth had run from the officer and into the garage, where he jumped on a bed and grabbed the metal object, "something if it had hit the officer pretty good ... would have knocked the officer out."

Neighbors said the boy was already in the garage, where he slept, when the deputy entered the home.

They said they heard nothing to indicate a struggle until four or five shots were fired.

The deputy tried to administer first aid, authorities said, but the teen died at the scene.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Neighbor Tony Madril said shouting could often be heard coming from the home. Officers had been there during the last few weeks, said Madril, whose 15-year-old daughter was friends with the teenager.

Madril called the youth a "handsome little guy" who acted like a big brother to kids who played football and rode bikes in the cul-de-sac.


Times staff writer Nancy Wride contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times
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