A reservist who accidentally shot and killed attorney Yuval Castleman will be interrogated Sunday by the Military Police, and in the meantime Ynet has learned more details about the case.
The soldier opened fire together with another reservist at the two terrorists who carried out the murderous attack at the Givat Shaul intersection in Jerusalem when Castleman himself, who was armed with a gun, came from the other direction and shot the terrorists as well. "He came out with the weapon and told me with his hand to run away," Moshiko Harush told Ynet on the morning of the attack. "He ran into hell."
However, the two soldiers - who were at the station and did not recognize Castleman running from the other side - mistakenly identified him as a terrorist, and shot him to death, even though in videos from the scene he is seen raising his hands as a sign of surrender and taking off his shirt to show them that he was not carrying an explosive device.
Now it turns out that Castleman not only took off his coat, threw down his gun and wallet and raised his hands - but he also shouted at the soldiers: "Look at my ID card, I'm Jewish." He continued to shout until one of the bullets hit his mouth, since his jaw was broken and he could no longer speak. He was fatally injured; Castleman was taken to the hospital and the doctors had to pronounce him dead after many hours.
While one of the soldiers will be interrogated, another soldier is still recovering from his injury and will be interrogated later. There is evidence that he shouted to the other soldier to stop shooting, and took care of Yuval.
Shaked Castleman, Yuval's brother, told Ynet studio Sunday morning: "Unfortunately, every day we learn more details, not through the officials who are supposed to come and present the things to us, but through the citizens and through the media. It is very clear that Yuval acted in the most professional manner possible. As a former security guard, he knew how to act amid gunfire in a civilian environment. He was simply executed, there is no other way to look at things."
He said that a way must be found to allow citizens to be armed and to discharge their weapons appropriately when the situation merits it. "Anyone who believes that skilled citizens should be part of the defense of the country should ask themselves how we allow such a thing to happen," he added.
At his press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the tragic incident in which Castleman was killed, which rekindled the fear of the consequences of the widespread distribution of weapons to civilians in the shadow of the war, a move promoted by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
"As soon as you distribute weapons in large numbers such cases can happen," Netanyahu admitted, even though Castleman owned a gun with a license even before the war. "We know that in the waves of terrorism in the last decade, the presence of armed citizens many times saved the situation and prevented a major disaster. This happened dozens of times. In the current situation, the policy must be continued. I certainly support it. We may pay a price. This is life in the current reality. We may change it later - but now it saves lives."
Shaked Castleman responded Sunday morning: "I worked under the prime minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and I hope he will talk to us. He will look at the videos and understand that it is not two-sided.'"
Yuval was shot to death the day before his 39th birthday. He was laid to rest on his birthday in the cemetery in Kiryat Tivon, the town where he grew up. He lived in Mevaseret Zion and worked as a lawyer for the Civil Service Commission. Yuval left behind his father, his mother Eti, three sisters and a brother, and his father's wife, Tami - who helped raise him and was very close to him.
"My son was murdered. There is no other definition for what they did to him," Moshe Castleman, Yuval's father, told Ynet. "Yuval was always a guy with a goal. He would choose a goal and achieve it."
Yuval's father added that his son's leap to help neutralize the terrorists testifies to his determined character. "Yuval was a guy who did not hesitate. He always helped his friends. It's just a big loss for us."
He said that on the day of the shooting his son was on the way from his home in Mevaseret Zion to his job at the Civil Service Commission, and was carrying his gun. The attack and the accidental fatal shooting happened on Thursday morning and, according to the father, it was only in the afternoon that the family members learned that their son was mortally wounded.
"We were informed indirectly. The Jerusalem District Attorney called and said that they had found his weapon, his wallet and his phone. We immediately went to the hospital, where we found out how critical his condition was. From the morning they worked on him and operated on him, but unfortunately after a few hours he was pronounced dead," according to Moshe Castleman.
The father added that, after the circumstances of the incident became clear to him, he realized that it was a serious problem.
"It shouldn't have happened. The soldiers behaved there in an appropriate manner. I also have a personal weapon, and I admit that I don't know what I will do next time. If I see that there are people who are involved who endanger me, then maybe I would prefer not to get involved," he concluded.