March 26, 2013

Whitfield man dies after shot by deputy

Had already injured himself, officials said

Charles Oliver

— The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into a shooting involving a Whitfield County deputy Monday night that left a man dead. A family member told 911 the man was trying to commit suicide.

Whitfield County Coroner Bobbie Dixon said Castro Andreas, 25, of 2745 Old Chattanooga Road, where the shooting occurred, was pronounced dead at 11:57 p.m. at Hamilton Medical Center. The exact cause of death has not yet been determined.

“We’ve sent his body off to the state crime lab for an autopsy,” Dixon said.

The GBI is investigating.

“That is what normally happens when there is an officer-involved shooting. We call them in so there’s an impartial, outside investigation,” said Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Maj. John Gibson.

Gibson declined to provide the name of the deputy who fired the shot, deferring to the GBI. No one at the GBI office in Calhoun immediately returned a telephone message Tuesday. The deputy is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

“That is common practice,” Gibson said.

Gibson said deputies answered a 911 call around 8:30 p.m.

“We got a call from a relative at the residence saying that (a man) was trying to commit suicide,” he said.

When deputies arrived they found Andreas had already injured himself.

“He had stabbed himself numerous times, and I believe he had also slashed his throat a couple of times,” Gibson said. “They tried to get him under control. They tried to get him to drop the weapons. He had a knife and a machete in his possession. They used a Taser initially. He did drop the machete. But he kept injuring himself with a knife. He went outside the residence and continued to inflict injury on himself.”

Gibson said Andreas then turned on one of the deputies, attempting to attack him. The deputy fired one round from a department-issued .40-caliber Glock pistol, striking the man in the torso.

Sherry Shepard lives next door to where the shooting took place. She said a young family lived there.

“They’ve lived there for a couple of years, I think. I’ve seen their children out there the past couple of summers,” she said. “I saw them, but I didn’t know them. We never really met. But we never had any problems with them. They never caused any trouble.”

She said she wasn’t aware of any problems Monday night until she noticed several law enforcement vehicles outside around 9.

“My husband heard a shot. My brother-in-law who lives up behind me heard a shot. But I was in the shower, and by the time I got out there police officers were blocking the road off,” she said.