Officer who fatally shot MN man says he was 'scared to death'

Minnesota officer charged with murdering black motorist to testify

Officer who killed black motorist to take the stand Friday

During the cross examination, Yanez was questioned why he didn't tell the BCA investigators a description of Castile's gun but instead, told an officer who drove him home afterwards.

Finally, he added that even if Castile was reaching for his wallet, Yanez's decision to shoot him might still be justified if the officer reasonably believed Castile was reaching for his gun.

St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez says he saw Philando Castile's gun before opening fire. Yanez had pulled the 32-year-old cafeteria worker over because of a faulty brake light. He was one of the last witnesses called by the defense Friday and news media from across the country packed the courtroom to listen to his account of the shooting.

Yanez said he followed Castile for two miles before he pulled Castile over in a fully marked squad auto.

Reynolds testified that Castile was reaching for his ID in his back pocket when he was shot.

That is a point of contention for the prosecution, which has called the officer's actions "unreasonable" and "excessive" and said he should have been more clear when giving orders to Castile.

The aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend and the video went viral, sparking protests nationwide and renewing criticism of the use of deadly force by police, especially against African-American men.

Video from Yanez's squad vehicle dashboard camera showed that he approached the driver's window while Kauser went to the passenger side and told Castile of his defective taillight. When Castile started saying he wasn't reaching for it, the officer interrupted, saying, "Don't pull it out", the AP reported. Castiles last words were, “I wasnt reaching for it.”. "Those were not my intentions", he said, adding that he even reached in the auto to try and stop Castile.

Yanez has said he was justified in stopping Castile's auto because he resembled a suspect in a convenience store robbery, court documents said.

Specifically, he asked why Yanez first said to a police supervisor who interviewed him at the scene that he didn't know where the gun was.

"Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me", Castile volunteered, according to the criminal complaint filed against Yanez.

The groceries Reynolds had bought with her sister the day of the shooting were left in Castile's vehicle and had been placed in evidence after the incident.

"(Yanez) endangered himself to try and make it less unsafe for the two other people involved", Kapelsohn said.

Kapelsohn said tests he conducted showed it would take less than three-tenths of a second to draw a gun like Castile's from a holster in the pocket of shorts like Castile was wearing. "I told him to get his hand off it!"

He faces one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of risky discharge of a firearm for endangering the lives of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter when he fired seven bullets into the auto. They described Castile as being cooperative when he told the officer that he had a gun on his person.

On July 6, 2016, Yanez and another officer stopped Castile for a broken taillight. Others were asked to weigh in on Yanez's decision not to radio his traffic stop into dispatch if he suspected an armed robber might be in the vehicle.

He was the second use-of-force expert to testify on behalf of the defense.

Yanez explained to jurors that Castile did not make eye contact and was "mumbling" and "talking forward" and "wanted to do what he wanted to do".

Kapelsohn also testified that his tests found Castile could have drawn his gun in a fraction of a second. Kapelsohn says that was a moderate response.

Yanez who is Latino, had worked for the St. Anthony Police Department for almost five years when he pulled Castile's auto over.

However, the state took issue with his analysis and said it left out key elements of the case.

The night of the shooting, Yanez radioed his police partner Joseph Kauser shortly before 9 let him know that he had just spotted a driver who resembled one of the suspects in an armed robbery that Yanez had responded to four days earlier.

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