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Fmr. Teacher Of Officer Who Shot Philando Castile Speaks Out

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A man who spent two years preparing Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser to become police officers is sharing his story. Those officers are now on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation into Philando Castile's death.

Christian Dobratz taught the officers when they were students at Minnesota State University-Mankato from 2008 to 2010.  Before that time Dobratz was a police officer for 18 years. He said Yanez and Kauser were not only good students but they were standout students in his classes.

The two future officers would both earn a Baton of Honor for being top performers.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez
Officer Jeronimo Yanez (credit: Christian Dobratz)

"They were very intelligent," Dobratz said. "Possessed a ton of common sense."

Dobratz said while he doesn't remember exactly what he taught Yanez and Kauser specifically, he said they did teach students what to do in a situation where a driver has a permit to carry. He said students were taught to retrieve the weapon if necessary but the driver should not reach for the weapon.

"You just feel your stomach drop, when I saw that it was them," Dobratz said. "I wish people could be more restrained in waiting for the results [of investigation]."

Dobratz said he respects the right of people to peacefully protest.

Yanez' attorney Thomas Kelly spoke to WCCO via phone Saturday. He said client was reacting to "actions" of Castile when he shot him. When asked what those actions were he replied "the presence of a gun."

In an interview with the Associated Press earlier Saturday, Kelly said Yanez reacted to Castile's gun and not his race.

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