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

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 3.17.49 PM

No KAT? No D'Lo? No problem as Timberwolves defeat Pelicans

The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but still picked up a (SCORE) win.

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 7.53.44 PM

Spinouts, crashes across Twin Cities as snow gets heavier

There have been multiple incidents across the metro area.

Mason Branstrator

Family, friends raising funds for teen soccer standout with spinal injury

Mason Branstrator of Duluth was injured in a skiing accident.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Tributes pour in after MN Supreme Court justice's daughter found dead

Olivia Chutich died near the campus of Iowa State University.

Image from iOS (96)

Early Saturday fire damages Burger King in Richfield

The fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. / Gopher Basketball

Maryland hands Gophers first home loss of season

The 17th-ranked Gophers fell to the Terrapins 63-49 on Saturday afternoon.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Minnesota Department of Health files lawsuit against Alibi Drinkery

The Lakeville bar has been in the news for defying orders.

Iron Tap snowmobile delivery

This MN restaurant will deliver to your ice house... on a snowmobile

Just in case you work up an appetite fishing on Lake Waconia.

Klobuchar and Trump

Klobuchar reacts to report Trump plotted against his attorney general

The NYT story alleges further tactics to overturn the election.


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."

Officer Yanez will go to trial in Philando Castile case

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

Dashcam video from the Philando Castile shooting

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

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

The settlement avoids a federal civil rights lawsuit.