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Mother of special needs teen shot and killed by police speaks out

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WOAI) - On January 25, 19-year-old Dustin Castillo was shot and killed by a San Antonio police officer during a confrontation on a busy highway.

The boy's mother, Peggy Sue Castillo, was one of hundreds of people caught in traffic caused by the incident that day.

“My oldest son was stuck in that traffic and my second oldest son was stuck in that traffic because we all called each other and we were all talking (about) how we were stuck in that traffic not knowing,” she said.

She adopted Dustin Castillo when he was five-years-old. She says growing up for him wasn't easy but when she found out he had been shot and killed after allegedly riding a stolen bike, pulling a knife and cutting a police officer, she was stunned.

“Prove me wrong that you don't have my son,” said Peggy Sue Castillo.

Dustin Castillo had special needs and went through therapy. He couldn't read or write and had the intellectual ability of a second grader.

Twenty-five percent of people shot and killed by police during the first half of 2015 were identified by police or family members as mentally ill, according to a Washington Post analysis of nearly 400 police killings.

National estimates indicate that between 3 percent and 10 percent of police calls involve people with mental illness.

"More emergency mental health evaluations are done by law enforcement than by three of the largest psychiatric emergency departments combined," according to the report.

The risk of being killed while being approached or stopped by law enforcement in the community is 16 times higher for individuals with untreated serious mental illness than for other civilians. By the most conservative estimates, at least 1 in 4 fatal law enforcement encounters involves an individual with serious mental illness.

Peggy Sue Castillo says after Dustin Castillo graduated from high school last year, he joined the ROTC. She says he was also a special Olympics athlete and dedicated member of their church.

“He praised God every day, he loved going to church,” Peggy Sue Castillo said.

She says she has no idea why her son did what he did that night.

“I can't speak to what he was thinking. All I can think of is how scared he was. You can't tell me 3 officers can't take a kid down that weighs 110 pounds and is 5'2,” said Peggy Sue Castillo.

She says it took five days for police to contact her about her son's death despite the fact he had his wallet and ID on him when he was shot.

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