On Memorial Day, May 31, at approximately 1:38 p.m., a Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Pubic Services Officer working near the top of the Pier witnessed a man waving a gun and yelling in the 1500 Block of Palisades Park and broadcast the information over the police radio. Several SMPD officers arrived on scene within minutes and were able to detain the man and retrieve a BB gun dropped by the suspect as the officers approached.
Other officers contacted a victim and witnesses to the incident. The victim, a 54-year-old person experiencing homelessness, told officers that he was standing in the park when the suspect, Kyle Leon Castaneda, a 38-year-old from Los Angeles, accused the victim of stealing his shoes. According to preliminary information, Castaneda was standing ten to fifteen feet from the victim when he pulled a BB gun from a bag and shot at the victim several times in the face and upper torso. One of the BBs hit the victim in the right eye, rupturing the globe. The victim also had a pellet lodged in the top of his head and had several small lacerations to the back of his head.
The victim was transported to a local hospital for ongoing treatment of his catastrophic eye injury.
The LA County District Attorney’s office charged Castaneda with 203 PC – Mayhem, 245(a)(1) PC – Assault with a Deadly Weapon, 243(d) PC – Battery with Great Bodily Injury and 244.5 (b) PC – Assault with BB Gun.
Anyone with any additional information pertaining to this incident or subject is strongly encouraged to contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 310-458-8451 or the Santa Monica Police Department’s Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.
Submitted by Sergeant Erika Aklufi,