Man said he was trying to protect his cat and self
By Jon Jonson
SAFFORD – An elderly man who already lost one cat to his neighbor’s dog wasn’t about to let it happen again, but officers said he stepped over the line when he discharged a handgun in the city limits.
Robert Castro, 69, was arrested May 31 for unlawful discharge of a firearm within the limits of a municipality. He was later released at his residence.
Officers were dispatched to the 2000 block of S. 9th Avenue at about 5:42 p.m. after Graham County Dispatch received a call about a man shooting a firearm.
According to a neighbor who said she witnessed the shooting, a pit bull belonging to Castro’s neighbor, Eloy Raymond Otero, entered Castro’s yard and urinated. After attempting to kick the dog, Castro retrieved an item from his truck and then fired a single shot at the dog in his front yard, missing it, according to the neighbor. Otero then exited his residence and the two men exchanged words, with Castro calling Otero a pejorative.
Castro was taken into custody and transported to the Safford Police Department to be interviewed. He told officers that Otero’s dog was tearing up his shed in his backyard to get at one of his cats and that he fired a single shot from his .22-caliber handgun to protect his cat, property and himself. Previously, the dog killed one of Castro’s cats in March, and Otero was given a citation for having a vicious dog at large.
Otero said Castro also pointed the gun at him, a claim that Castro denied.
Faced with evidence to the contrary where the dog was when he fired the shot, Castro eventually admitted the dog was in the front yard and wasn’t currently tearing up his shed when he shot at it but that the dog was still on his property. He said he believed the dog was coming back to attack him. He also denied retrieving the gun from the truck and said it was inside house.
After the interview was completed, Castro was transported back to his residence and was instructed to stay away from Otero. The report was then forwarded to the Graham County Attorney’s Office for review.