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Nov 30, 2020

Another Taxi Man is Shot and Killed in Escalating Gang Violence

Erwin Castillo

The spate of gun violence in Lake Independence continues unchecked, despite the brass of the police department coming forward to address the issue in the media last Thursday.  There have been several murders in that community where feuding gangs are exacting retribution in blood.  On Friday night, another cab driver, who police say is also involved in the rivalry, was gunned down as he dropped off a passenger and was talking to a pair of men on Flamboyant Street.  An unknown gunman emerged on the scene and let loose a hail of bullets on Erwin Castillo, making him the fourth casualty in the ongoing row.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

On Friday night, thirty-seven-year-old Erwin Castillo, a cab driver, was on the job dropping off a fare on Flamboyant Street when someone emerged from a nearby property and fired multiple rounds in his direction.  The deadly shooting is the latest in a wave of homicides in Lake Independence since last Monday.  It happened just before eleven o’clock as Castillo drove his taxi in this vicinity.


Alejandro Cowo

Supt. Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Eastern Division

“Upon police arrival at Flamboyant Street they observed a red in color Pontiac car and upon making checks inside of the vehicle they observed the motionless body of Erwin Frederick Castillo, thirty-seven-years-old with apparent gunshot wounds to his body.  What we understand is that Mr. Castillo was driving off from Flamboyant Street towards Western Avenue when two persons stopped the vehicle and he began chatting with them.  Thereafter he was approached by someone who fired several shots at him, causing his fatal injuries.”


The motive behind the taxi man’s murder is believed to be gang-related.  His cousin was at home that night when he was notified via text message that there was a fatal incident involving Castillo.


Voice of: Cousin of Deceased

“I didn’t believe.  But da when I look at, when I look at my phone again and they sent a picture of him, apparently maybe a mug shot picture or what or something and I said, “Wow, it’s true.  It’s my cousin.”  So the following day, like about 6:30 or 7:00, I came to his mom’s house and she was right here sitting and when I walked through the gate and she walked up to me and she told me, “You know what, …they killed Erwin, you know.”  I said, “What auntie?”  She said yes, they killed Erwin.  I said, wow.  Ah tell ahn, “Yes, I see it”  But like ah seh, ah noh believe and there is where I said, “You know what, it’s true.”


During the incident Castillo drove his vehicle into a nearby drain while attempting to escape from his attacker.  He would perish at the scene of the shooting.



“Do you all believe that the shots were fired based on the prior conversation that he’d had?”


Supt. Alejandro Cowo

“Yes, we do believe [so].”



“Now, we do know that he has been involved with criminal elements before and he has been criminally charged before.  Do you believe his death was related to some previous incident or was it related to just general gang rivalries in that neighborhood?”


Supt. Alejandro Cowo

“Well, as far as we know, Mr. Castillo had a long history with the police and I also know that he associates with certain groups in that area and we believe that that might have been the motive because of him being in an area where he is not expected to be.”



“Sir, that sounds like gang rivalry or turf issues…”


Supt. Alejandro Cowo



A search for Erwin Castillo in our database does in fact reveal that he has a lengthy rap sheet for armed robbery.  Notwithstanding his criminal past, Castillo’s relative says he did not deserve such a violent end.


Voice of: Cousin of Deceased

“In life, everybody has a past, but for us to be tarnishing one another in this world today, you have to understand that you have parents, you have relatives, you have cousins and I know that they wouldn’t like certain things like that to be said about them, regardless of who they are.  One, like I said, yes, I don’t say my cousin was an angel because nobody in this world are angels, you understand.  We do make mistakes but at the end of the day, not because we make mistakes we should be penalized for our mistake in certain ways.”


An investigation into Castillo’s murder is nascent, however, the angle that he may have known something or had been involved in a previous homicide is being looked at closely.


Supt. Alejandro Cowo

“We are looking at it and there is a possibility that it is linked to one of the shootings that had happened earlier in the week.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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