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Minnesota Officers in Fatal Shooting of Philando Castile Identified

by Alex Johnson /  / Updated 
Philando Castile was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minn.
Philando Castile was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minn.Courtesy Of Castile Family

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Jul.07.201602:52

The St. Anthony, Minn., police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile was identified Thursday night as Jeronimo Yanez, a four-year veteran of the department.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Yanez and Officer Joseph Kauser, also a four-year veteran of the St. Anthony force, were placed on administrative leave.

Yanez and Kauser stopped Castile's car about 9:05 p.m. (10:05 p.m. ET) Wednesday for a traffic-related violation in Falcon Heights, the state agency said. According to investigators, Yanez approached the car from the driver's side, while Kauser approached it from the passenger side.

"At one point during the interaction, Officer Yanez discharged his weapon, striking Castile multiple times. No one else was injured. A gun was recovered at the scene," the BCA said.

Authorities confirmed that there were two passengers in the vehicle, Diamond Reynolds and her juvenile daughter. Reynolds, who was Castile's fiancée, posted video of the immediate aftermath of the shooting online.

Yanez radioed for an ambulance, which took Castile to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, the BCA said.

The Hennepin County medical examiner's office said in an autopsy report late Thursday night that Castile, 32, died of multiple gunshot wounds. It classified his death as a homicide.

No other details of the fatal confrontation were made available. Authorities said that evidence was still being collected, including squad car video of the incident. St. Anthony officers don't wear body cameras.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton made it clear that he believed Castile's race was a factor, saying Thursday: "Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don't think it would have."

The shooting came a day after a second black man, Alton Sterling, was killed by police in Baton Rouge, La., sparked nationwide protests.

Most of the protests were large but peaceful. But at least four officers were killed Thursday night when snipers opened fire during a protest in Dallas, Police Chief David Brown said.

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