I really believe that the meltdown that led to Ernesto Castaneda’s death was probably an anniversarial reaction to something. In March 2008 he evaded officers while drunk and earned a conviction in El Monte Superior Court.
This March (Sunday to be exact) he went on a bender and attacked deputies with a machete and a baseball bat before they shot him to death. Jennifer McLain’s story from today’s newspaper leads me to believe that Castaneda’s depression and the ides of March are somehow linked. Here’s portions of her story:
ROSEMEAD – The young man who was shot and killed by deputies Sunday after brandishing a machete struggled with depression since the death of his mother, neighbors said.
Ernesto Castaneda, 22, died at a nearby hospital on Sunday after deputies shot him. Castaneda’s father called the police on his son around 11 a.m. on Sunday because Castaneda was “high” and armed with a machete, according to sheriff’s deputies.
“He was a good boy,” said neighbor Lorraine O’Neill, who has known Castaneda since he was a child. “He just got depressed after his mom died three years ago and he’s been struggling since then.”
Last March, Castaneda was convicted of evading arrest and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs in a vehicle.
I also think it’s interesting to compare how the sheriff’s department has handled the case to Pasadena’s handling of the Leroy Barnes shooting.
Statements from veteran homicide detective Gil Carrillo were measured and specific at the Castaneda shooting. There was no mistaking that Carrillo knew the facts before speaking to the press.
Contrast that with Pasadena Police Chief Barney Melekian’s appearing before the press, issuing a statement that turned out to be false, and only retracting that statement when confronted with witness reports that differed with those of his officers.
Also of interest is the fact that Melekian demanded the Los Angeles County of Coroner seal their report on the officer involved shooting. Whereas Carrillo and his crew have not taken similar measures in the Castaneda case.
Despite the secrecy emmanating from Mekeian’s office, members of the Pasadena City Council have written a letter to the editor supporting Melekian’s decisions.