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Mother Files Lawsuit Against Officer Who Shot Mentally Ill Son

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) - The mother of a mentally ill man shot and killed by a police officer has filed a lawsuit against the officer who shot him, the chief of the Denver Police Department, and the City and County of Denver.

Paul Castaway, 35, was killed during a confrontation with police at a mobile home park on Morrison Road near Kentucky Avenue on July 12, 2015.

Lynn Eagle Feather filed the civil suit on the one-year anniversary of the deadly shooting. The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for a life that family members say was cut short without cause.

Paul Castaway
Paul Castaway (credit: CBS)

Castaway left behind a 3-year-old son, Emanuel, who recently turned 4.

His grandmother Geraldine Rodriguez remembers the last moments Emanuel spent with his dad.

"They ate and had their little meal together," said Rodriguez, between tears. "I told him you can come back any time you want."

Castaway did not get that chance. He died two days later after being shot by a police officer.

Lynn Eagle Feather Paul Castaway
Lynn Eagle Feather (credit: CBS)

"It was horrible," said Castaway's mother, Lynn Eagle Feather. "I heard the gunshots."

Eagle Feather never imagined that her 911 call for help with her son would lead to his life ending.

"I called for help," said Eagle Feather. "Not for a murder. Not for him to get killed."

Paul and Emanuel Castaway (credit: CBS)

Surveillance video shows Castaway running through a mobile home park. Holding a knife to his throat, he walked towards officers. One of them shot him. The district attorney did not file charges.

The civil lawsuit alleges that one of the officers was about to deploy his Taser when the other officer shot Castaway.

Family members, friends, and supporters say the shooting was an unnecessary use of deadly force on a man who was mentally ill and threatening his own life.

knife on ground
(credit: CBS)

According to police, the officer fired shots after Castaway came at the officer with the knife and did not comply with orders to stop. Eagle Feather said that was no reason to kill him.

"I wish I could have my son back," Eagle Feather said through tears. "I don't care about the money. I just want justice. And I don't want them killing anymore people in this manner. It's awful."

A Denver Police spokesperson said that the department was not able to comment on a pending lawsuit.

(credit: CBS)

The spokesperson did say, however, that the shooting was fully investigated by the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorney's Office, with oversight by the Office of the Independent Monitor. Their investigation concluded that the officer who shot Castaway did not break the law or violate any departmental policies.

The civil suit could take more than a year to resolve or go to trial.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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