The suspect in a deadly shooting this month denied any knowledge about the event when questioned by police, according to a detective’s testimony.
The case against Christian Castillo, 28, of Bowling Green, was sent to a grand jury after a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Warren District Court.
Castillo is charged with murder and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon in the death of Diego Pedro, 29, of Bowling Green.
Pedro was found sitting in his vehicle Feb. 9 at West 15th Avenue and Butler Way with a gunshot wound in his face.
Evidence at the scene indicated Pedro had been involved in a collision with another vehicle. He died the next day in a Nashville hospital.
The Bowling Green Police Department arrested Castillo on Feb. 11 after police located a vehicle at Abel Court Apartments that appeared to match the description of the vehicle involved in the crash earlier in the week.
BGPD Detective Melissa Wartak said debris on the road at the crash site and paint chips on the damaged front end of Pedro’s vehicle enabled investigators to narrow the possibilities of the suspect’s vehicle to a 2007-2014 dark blue Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe or Avalanche.
Surveillance video footage from the area around the time of the incident further identified the suspect’s vehicle as an SUV with a grille guard, chrome handles and chrome side mirror, Wartak said.
Police seeking information about the suspect’s vehicle were contacted Feb. 11 by an employee at Abel Court Apartments on Old Barren River Road, who told police that a resident there applied for a guest parking permit for a dark blue 2007 Chevrolet Suburban, Wartak said.
Police found the vehicle had front-end damage consistent with previous descriptions and detained Castillo after he was found sitting in the Suburban.
Police gleaned many details about the shooting from Castillo’s girlfriend, Monica Rivas, Wartak said.
Rivas told police she was driving the Suburban on Feb. 9 with Castillo as a passenger, according to Wartak.
When the Suburban neared the West 15th Avenue intersection from Butler Way, Rivas reportedly told police that she saw Pedro’s vehicle was moving slowly at the stop sign.
Pedro’s vehicle then turned suddenly, causing a collision, Wartak said.
“(Rivas) advised Castillo tried to get out of the vehicle, but she stopped him,” Wartak said. “She said she saw the victim move and shake his head and that is when Castillo opened the passenger door, stood on the step bar and fired a shot into the windshield,” Wartak said.
Rivas reportedly made Castillo give her the nine-millimeter handgun believed to have been used in the incident and hid it at the apartment on Abel Court.
Wartak said police recovered the gun under a mattress at the apartment along with multiple bullets found in the toilet and pipes.
Castillo, Rivas and the resident at the apartment were brought to BGPD headquarters for questioning.
“(Castillo) denied all the allegations and stated nothing abnormal happened (Feb. 9),” Wartak said. “He denied being involved in a collision and just kept saying, ‘I didn’t do nothing.’ He denied any knowledge of the gun and did not ask anything about the murder whatsoever.”
Questioned by Castillo’s attorney, Deidre Bowen of the state Department of Public Advocacy, Wartak said police continue to seek surveillance video footage from the area around the time of the incident and have no footage of the actual event.
Castillo remains in the Warren County Regional Jail under a $1 million cash bond.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.