Cape Coral man accused of manslaughter after unintentional shooting in car

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Giordanni Vidal Castro, 18. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Department

A Cape Coral man was arrested Sunday morning after police say he shot a man with a handgun he didn’t realize was loaded.

According to the Cape Coral Police Department, Giordanni Vidal Castro, 18, was arrested after police responded to a call from Cape Coral Hospital at around 12:15 a.m. The call said a man, later identified as Damian Michael Gonzalez, 23, arrived at the hospital after sustaining an apparent gunshot wound to his upper chest. Gonzalez was later pronounced dead.

Officers arrived at the scene and spoke to three other people involved, who were inside a vehicle with Gonzalez when the shooting occurred.

Castro was seated in the front passenger side seat in front of Gonzalez, who was sitting in the rear. After bantering back and forth, Castro took a 9MM Ruger from his lap, placed it against Gonzalez’s chest, and fired, not realizing it was loaded. The shooting happened as the car was traveling down Del Prado Boulevard North.

“It was a friendly, I guess you can say, banter. All the individuals were all friends. They were known to each other. There was no hostility,” said Brandon Sancho, Cape Coral Police Department’s public affairs officer. “He didn’t realize that it had a bullet in the chamber, then fired the handgun.”

The gun was tossed from the vehicle in panic but was later located by police.

Gonzalez was immediately rushed to Cape Coral Hospital by his friends, where he died from his injuries.

When the friends spoke with the police, they said the shooting wasn’t intentional.

“Based on all the occupants in the vehicle actually stated, they said it was friendly banter back and forth, and it wasn’t anything. No ill will, no specific intent where he would point the gun at that person and then the actual victim and shoot him purposely,” said Sancho.

WINK News was in the courtroom Monday as Castro made his first appearance.

“What I will do is order you held overnight. And brought back before me tomorrow for first appearance at 10 o clock. Then you can get in touch with a private lawyer and make arrangements for that private lawyer to be here tomorrow. Is that what you want to do?” asked the judge. Castro replied, “Yes.”

Cape Coral police believe there was one bullet in the gun at the time of the shooting. They recovered the gun in the 100 block of Del Prado Boulevard North, just north of Hancock Bridge Parkway.

Castro faces a charge of manslaughter.

Cape Coral Police Department wants to remind everyone that all guns, real or fake, should be handled as if they are loaded at all times.

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