'He took his last breath in front of us': Girlfriend of Falcon Heights shooting victim reacts
Karolyn Coorsh , CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, July 7, 2016 11:59AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 7, 2016 9:01PM EDT
The girlfriend of a black man fatally shot by a police officer in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. sobbed as she described how her boyfriend took his “last breath” next to her after their vehicle was pulled over for a broken light.
Diamond Reynolds spoke with reporters Thursday, the day after her boyfriend, 34-year-old school cafeteria worker Philando Castile, was shot and killed by a police officer.
Reynolds was sitting next to Castile in the car, and her four-year-old daughter was in the backseat, when he was shot, she said.
Reynolds streamed video of the aftermath on Facebook Live, including footage of the police officer with his gun still drawn.
On Thursday, a distraught Reynolds told reporters that the officer “killed him in front of us for no reason.”
She said the officer pulled them over and asked them if they were aware that their headlight was broken. They answered no, she said.
Reynolds said they then “did nothing but what the police officer asked of us,” which was to put their hands in the air and retrieve license and registration.
As Castile reached for his wallet, Reynolds said, he let the officer know that he was carrying a firearm, and Reynolds told the officer that Castile was licensed to carry it.
The officer, she said, then started shooting.
“It’s not fair and it’s not right,” Reynolds said, sobbing as others tried to comfort her.
Reynolds said Castile was loving and sweet man with no criminal record. He was helping her raise her daughter “as if she was his own.”
“He never did anything, no gang affiliated, nothing,” she said. “He was a hard-working man.”
Reynolds said she streamed video of the encounter on Facebook Live so that it would go viral.
“I wanted the people to determine who was right and who was wrong,” Reynolds said. “I want the people to be the testimonies here.”
Reynolds said she will “not be able to sleep” until she gets justice for Castile.
“Even after justice this will never go away,” she said tearfully.
Castile’s mother Valerie said in an interview that her son was a “law-abiding citizen” who “did nothing wrong.”
She added her son was “trying to do the right things and live accordingly” only to be “killed by the law.”