Grand jury finds Salem officer justified in deadly shooting

Marion County

23-year-old Arcadio Castillo III was holding a large butcher knife in his parents' living room when the officer arrived, authorities said

A domestic violence suspect was shot to death by a Salem police officer near Vaughn Street, July 10, 2021 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A grand jury in Marion County has found a Salem officer justified in using deadly force against a domestic violence suspect in July.

A Salem police officer, identified as Nathan Bush, arrived at a scene in the 3700 block of June Avenue NE around 11:20 p.m. after a 911 caller reported that her son was assaulting her and her disabled husband at their home, authorities said.

The 911 operator could hear sounds of a struggle and an inaudible male voice, then the caller was heard saying “get away from me” followed by screaming. Then the line went dead.

Officer Bush parked down the block and ran to the house on foot so as not to alert the suspect, court documents show. He reportedly found the 911 caller with injuries to her hand, wrist, knee and leg after her son slammed her into her car, knocked her to the ground and dragged her across the cement.

Bush went to the front door of the home where the suspect — 23-year-old Arcadio Castillo III — was inside with his father. Bush said he could hear voices, one of which was growing more agitated.

The father opened the door and Bush could reportedly see Castillo holding a large butcher knife while standing in the living room. Bush pointed his gun at the suspect and ordered him to drop the knife but Castillo started walking slowly toward the officer, authorities said. Then he turned and started walking toward the back of the house but suddenly spun around and rushed toward Bush with the knife raised in a stabbing position. When Castillo came within five feet of Bush and the father, Bush opened fire — hitting Castillo four times. Castillo collapsed and Bush called for medics and began giving Castillo first aid.

Castillo died at the scene.

In an interview later that night, Castillo’s mother reportedly told police that her son’s anger and violence had been escalating over the past few months. She reportedly said her son had hit and kicked her and her husband and menaced them with a butcher knife. When she told her son she would call police, Castillo responded that “he wasn’t going to be leaving his house and that if anyone tried to take him from his house, he was going to stab ‘em,” according to court documents. The mother fled the home to call 911 but said her son followed her, attacked her and took her phone. Bush showed up moments later.

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