By Pauline Repard | U-T San Diego
CHULA VISTA — An off-duty San Diego police officer who fatally shot his brother while being stabbed last week was fighting for his life, Chula Vista police said Tuesday as they released more details on the deadly encounter.
Officer Bryan Castillo, 39, killed his brother Wesley Castillo, 35, Friday at the Center Street apartment they shared with their parents.
Police officials said their investigation, which is continuing, showed that Wesley Castillo, who had a history of mental illness, struggled over his brother’s handgun, then attacked him with two large steak knives.
“As Wesley was stabbing Bryan, Bryan fired several times,” Chula Vista police Capt. Roxana Kennedy said in a statement.
Bryan “was really in a fight for his life,” police Lt. Fritz Reber said. “He showed a lot of restraint.”
The case will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office, but the officer is considered the victim, not the suspect in the incident, Kennedy said.
“It’s a tragedy for this family,” she said. “They are suffering.”
Police said Wesley had not been taking his medication on a consistent basis, and had been acting erratically and suicidal at times. That morning, Reber said, “he just woke up and was angry at the world for no apparent reason. He wasn’t rational.”
Bryan was dressed and wearing his off-duty handgun in a concealed holster. He was about to go out for the day and then on to work when Wesley became agitated, then put their mother in a choke-hold, Reber said. She wasn’t hurt, but Bryan intervened.
The brothers struggled for several minutes and Wesley pulled Bryan’s gun from the holster. Bryan got the gun back and kicked it under some furniture, Reber said.
Meanwhile, Wesley went in the kitchen, grabbed a knife, returned and stabbed Bryan in the chest. The blade punctured the officer’s right lung. Their mother called 911 at that point and told a dispatcher one of her sons was stabbing the other one. Their father also was home but did not get involved in the struggle, Reber said.
Police said Wesley returned to the kitchen, got another knife and lunged at Bryan again. The parents later told officers their younger son was out of control.
Bryan retrieved his gun and yelled at his brother to stop. Wesley stabbed him at least three more times before Bryan opened fire. Bryan went outside to meet paramedics and police. He told them he’d shot his brother inside.
Officers found two broken and bloody knives in the residence.
Bryan was hospitalized for two days, then released on Sunday.