Juan Castillo was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head Feb. 26.

Police are asking for help investigating the shooting death of a young Santa Monica resident.

Juan Sebastian Castillo was shot and killed on Sunday, Feb. 26. Castillo was a lifelong Santa Monica resident who attended Will Rogers, John Adams and graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2016.

According to SMPD, emergency responders were called to the 1300 block of 16th Street at about 5:08 a.m. on Sunday on a report of an unconscious victim with a head injury. Paramedics pronounced Castillo dead and detectives from SMPD were notified for an investigation.

According to Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez, Castillo’s death could be related to an earlier call to police. He said officers responded to a call of shots fired on the 2100 block of Pico Blvd. at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday.

“Officers discovered evidence of a shooting in the immediate area; however, no victims or suspects were located,” said a statement from SMPD.

Rodriguez said officers are working to see if the two calls are connected.

“(Castillo) did suffer a gunshot wound to the head, a single gunshot wound, but we haven’t made the actual link to the earlier shooting but it is not something we are ruling out at this point,” he said.

Gail Pinsker, Community & Public Relations Officer for the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District, said Castillo was a member of the Samohi football team and that resources were being made available to students on campus.

She said the Football team gathered for an informal memorial over the weekend and that the community was offering support to the Castillo family who were known for their involvement in the school district. There is a GoFundMe site to help raise money for Castillo’s funeral expenses.

Castillo’s death follows the death of Samohi student Kelly Cano who died from an unknown illness earlier this month.

Pinsker said any death among the school community is tragic.

“For any student this is very difficult to deal with and every single time a student passes it’s sad and the focus is on supporting the students,” she said.

The investigation is ongoing and detectives are interested in speaking with anyone who was in the area. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective D. Larios (310) 458-8937; Detective B. Cooper (310) 458-8478 or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.


Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...