The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile said he thought Castile would act recklessly because he smelled marijuana in his car.
Jeronimo Yanez told the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in an interview the day after the shooting that he initially pulled Castile over as he thought he matched the description of a suspect in a gas-station robbery he had responded to a week prior to the shooting.
Yanez said he smelled the odor of “burnt” marijuana in Castile’s car as he walked up to the driver’s side window.
He didn’t tell Castile that he smelled the marijuana at first because he didn’t want Castile to “react in a defensive manner.”
Yanez told Castile that he had had a busted taillight.
Yanez said he was worried that Castile may be carrying a weapon for protection from drug dealers or others trying to “rip” or steal from him.
“It appeared to me that he had no regard to what I was saying,” Yanez said. “He didn’t care what I was saying. He still reached down.”
“And at that point I was scared and I was in fear for my life and my partner’s life,” Yanez said. He said he saw Castile grab something near his right thigh.
“I know he had an object — and it was dark,” Castile said.
Yanez said he was concerned for the “little girl” in the back, who was Castile’s girlfriend’s daughter.
“As that was happening, as he was pulling at, out his hand I thought, I was gonna die and I thought if he’s, if he has the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the 5-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?” Yanez added.
Yanez said he remembered “smelling the gun smoke” and the “bright flashes from the muzzle.”
“And then I heard, a couple pops from my firearm,” Yanez said.
He shot Castile seven times just 38 seconds after he first pproached Castile’s window.