Philando Castile described as good-hearted, hard worker

Published 9:44 am Friday, July 8, 2016

By Cody Nelson and Laura Yuen FM

The man shot and killed Wednesday by police during a Falcon Heights traffic stop worked in St. Paul public schools and was remembered warmly by colleagues who say they’re grieving his death.

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Philando Castile spent much of his adult life as a cafeteria aide in St. Paul Public Schools. He’d worked for the district since he was 19, graduating from St. Paul’s Central High School in 2001.

In a statement Thursday, district officials described Castile, 32, as the ideal employee. He was promoted to a supervisor role in the district two years ago and worked at J.J. Hill Montessori School.

“Colleagues describe him as a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike,” the district said. “He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug.”

“He was a hard-working educator who played his part in preparing Minnesota children for successful lives,” Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said in a statement. “He was a friend to his school colleagues, a companion to his girlfriend and a mentor to his students. Those kids need us now.”

Kimberly Colbert, a Central High teacher and St. Paul Federation of Teachers officer, spoke to about 11,000 people about Castile’s death at a national teachers union conference. She asked those in attendance to “remember him as we remember all other victims of the horrible violence that has been going on in our country.”

Castile’s shooting has attracted worldwide attention. The bloody aftermath was broadcast live via Facebook video captured by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.

Antonio Johnson, a cousin of Philando Castile, described him as a soft spoken homebody who loved to play video games.