Skip to main content

Yanez says he 'thought I was going to die' before he fatally shot Philando Castile

Closing arguments are set for Monday.

The officer who's on trial for fatally shooting Philando Castile told his side of the story in court Friday.

Jeronimo Yanez, who is charged with manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm in connection with Castile's July 6, 2016, death, testified in his own defense. This was the first time Yanez has spoken publicly since he was charged.

"I was scared to death," Yanez told the jury, according to KARE 11. "I thought I was going to die. My family popped into my head. My wife. My baby girl."

The officer testified he initially pulled Castile over that day because the driver looked like a suspect in a gas station robbery from few days before, and after Castile said he had a firearm on him, it put Yanez on "high alert," MPR News reports.

Yanez also testified that he saw part of Castile's gun before he shot him, reports say.

"I had no other choice. I was forced to engage Mr. Castile. He was not complying with my directions," Yanez said in court, according to the Star Tribune.

Before Yanez took the stand Friday afternoon, the defense had a use of force expert testify, who said Yanez used reasonable force and did what any other officer would have done in the same situation, WCCO reporter Mary McGuire tweeted.

However, the prosecution has maintained Yanez's actions were unreasonable, and has tried to prove Castile was cooperating with Yanez when the 32-year-old told the officer he had a gun, The Associated Press reports.

Closing arguments in the case are set for Monday, according to MPR's Jon Collins.

Yanez's case is believed to be the first time a police officer in Minnesota has been prosecuted for fatally shooting a person while on duty. If you're looking for detailed, day-to-day coverage of the trial, check out MPR News' blog and podcast.

Next Up


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.


Jeronimo Yanez found not guilty in Philando Castile's death

Jurors deliberated for five days before reaching a unanimous decision.

Jurors see dash cam footage of Yanez shooting Castile

Opening arguments in the cop's manslaughter trial included video.

ICYMI: Charges against Jeronimo Yanez reveal Philando Castile's final moments

Castile's last words, recorded at 9:06.04, were: "I wasn't reaching for it."

Dashcam video from the Philando Castile shooting

The video released Tuesday is graphic. It was shown to the jury during the Jeronimo Yanez trial.

Officer Yanez will go to trial in Philando Castile case

Yanez's attorneys filed a motion to try to get the case dismissed.

Philando Castile's family reaches $3M settlement in his death

The settlement avoids a federal civil rights lawsuit.