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Family of armed man shot by Salem police officer says he had a history of mental illness

Salem police shot and killed a 22-year-old man armed with a knife during a domestic incident Friday night.

SALEM, Ore. — Salem police shot and killed a man armed with a knife while responding to a domestic violence call Friday night. The family of 22-year-old Arcadia Castillo III said he suffered from mental health issues and is questioning if lethal force was necessary. 

His uncle Gabriel Alvarado said the shooting happened during a family altercation. 

"My nephew was drinking and they got into an argument and my nephew, started assaulting my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law, and my sister-in-law came out to call the police," said Alvarado

One Salem police officer responded to the call and, according to Alvarado, his sister-in-law  — Castillo's mother —  told the officer her son had a knife and a history of mental illness. 

The family told KGW the officer did not go inside the home but stayed at the entrance. 

"Opened the door, yelled three times to put the knife down. Arcadia did not put the knife down and the officer shot him three times, " said Alvarado.

Police said they attempted to save the man's life, but he died at the scene. No officers were injured during this incident. 

Oregon State Police (OSP) identified the involved officer as Nathan Bush, who has been with the Salem Police Department for four years. Bush has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, which is department protocol.

The family now has a lot of questions about the decision to shoot the man. 

"Every officer nowadays are prone to, 'OK, let’s shoot the guy.' Instead of 'We know he has mental issues,' [it's] 'Let’s bring him down," Alvarado said. "If he doesn’t want to listen, they have other means. They have taser, they have gas.”

Per standard protocols for the use of deadly physical force, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said OSP will be the lead agency investigating this case.

Any further details regarding the shooting will be released by OSP or the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

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