ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Philando Castile would have celebrated his 33rd birthday in a little more than a week.
Castile was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop Wednesday night in Falcon Heights. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car with him at the time of the shooting. Reynolds posted a Facebook Live video in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that went viral and made national headlines.
On Thursday, his family and co-workers expressed grief over a life taken too soon. They talked with WCCO’s Reg Chapman.
Philando Castile’s mother and sister say there are no words to describe how they feel. Their pain is real, raw and at times uncontrollable.
“Why are we a threat because of our skin color? Why?” Allysza Castile said.
Philando’s sister, Allysza, describes her brother as kind, loving and humble, someone who loved to go to work. She says his job at J.J. Hill School was more than just a paycheck, it was a calling.
“Wasn’t in no gang activity. He wasn’t no criminal. My baby was a good man, a good hard-working man,” she said.
His mother, Valerie, says her son was given awards for perfect attendance. She was proud of the man he was.
“He did everything he was supposed to do as far as being a law abiding citizen. He worked every day,” Valerie said.
“A man of few words but a really gentle soul,” Kathy Holmquist-Burks said.
Kathy Holmquist-Burks hired Castile years ago and promoted him to supervisor.
“He was always happy, smiled, he waved he came in the office often almost every day to say hello,” Holmquist-Burks said.
Burks says Phil was a perfect gentleman. She says the St. Paul Central High School class of 2001 graduate had a love for life and people. He always wanted to help make others better.
“He was not a person with attitude. He was not a person who was harsh, negative, as far as I know he had no involvement with anything negative,” Holmquist-Burks said.
That’s why his death is hard for many to take. Burks says Phil was so full of promise, but was taken away from the world before he had a chance to really hit his stride.
Philando loved his family and spending time with them was important to him. The night he was killed, he had just left his mom’s house, dropping off food for her and his sister.
Many who knew him say Philando was someone you wanted your kids to look up to.