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Gun Owners Caucus Head: Philando 'Acted As A Responsible Permit Holder'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Prosecutors say Philando Castile was legally carrying a firearm and was shot after informing police about it.

Gun rights advocates say Castile did what permit holders are supposed to do. Prosecutors say Castile was "respectful and compliant" during his brief encounter with police.

Related: Philando Castile - Timeline Of Events

BCA Investigates Philando Castile's Car
BCA investigates Philando Castile's car (credit: CBS)

He was legally carrying a semi-automatic handgun in his right front pocket, according to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

"Castile … calmly, and in a non-threatening manner, informed Officer Yanez, 'Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me,'" Choi said.

Minnesota law does not require permit holders to reveal they are carrying a gun unless they are asked by police.

Castile did not say he had a permit, but he did say he had a gun. In general, that is what firearms instructors teach, according to Rob Doar, a leader of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus and a firearms safety instructor.

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

"When the officer approaches, you have your hands on the wheel, you say, 'Officer, I have a permit to carry, and I am carrying tonight. How would you like me to proceed?'" Doar said.

Investigators say Castile had his seat belt buckled, with one hand on the steering wheel and the other in plain view.

Castile did not reach for a gun, did not move his hands and did not resist. Doar says Castile appeared to do everything by the book.

"I recommend that you turn the car off, you turn the lights on in the vehicle, you keep your hands on the wheel," Doar said. "I do believe that Philando Castile acted as a responsible permit holder."

Philando Castile
Philando Castile at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School (credit: CBS)

Minnesota law requires permit holders to carry a Minnesota ID and their legal permit to carry a gun.

Medical personnel found both in Castile's pocket, along with his holstered gun, before he died.

"Philando Castile moaned, and uttered his final words: 'I wasn't reaching for it,'" Choi said.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports more than 250,000 Minnesotans have legal permits to carry guns.

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