17-year-old paralyzed boy killed in triple shooting in Lakeland

Jake Castillo was paralyzed in 2011 shooting
Posted at 10:17 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 18:23:10-04

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating a triple shooting on Monday night.

Deputies say around 7:45 p.m., three people were shot in the area of Lebanon and Tennessee Roads in the Wabash area of unincorporated Lakeland.

According to witnesses, a cream-colored four door Cadillac Deville drove down Lebanon Road. The car turned around and drove down the road a second time.

On the car's third trip down Lebanon Road, it stopped in front of house. One of the three men inside the car opened fire, hitting a 17-year-old paralyzed boy in a wheelchair, who was being pushed into a home.

"He was outside with my son when I saw the car pass and pass and pass. The third time he made a U-turn and that's when they started,"  Hortencia Ortega, Jake Castillo's aunt said. 

Castillo's family was home at the time. Ortega says she first thought the gun shots were fireworks because the 4th of July was just the next day. 

But, this wasn't the first time Ortega watch a nephew shot down and killed. Back in 2011 Jake's brother was shot and killed. Then, a bullet hit him, paralyzing the boy and putting him in a wheelchair; the same wheel chair Jake would be killed in six years later. Despite two tragic shootings, his aunt says Jake was just caught in the crossfire.

"I don't understand it because he wasn't a troublemaker on the street," Ortega said as tears filled up her eyes.

Neighbors tell ABC Action News that Lebanon Road is not a safe community, but that Jake was an innocent victim in the shooting.

"I couldn't just imagine what they are going through and this ain't the first time," Neighbor Nadine Phillips, said. 

Ortega and her family says they want Justice for Jake. That's why a family member inside at the time, ran outside to try to defend the property.

Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, says a person living at the house had grabbed a shotgun when the car went past a second time. That person opened fire at the Cadillac, striking the driver and front seat passenger.

The Cadillac drove away and crashed into a ditch just down the road.

Paramedics took the injured driver and passenger to Lakeland Regional Health for treatment. One suffered minor injuries and was released into the custody of the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies are speaking to the second passenger, who was sitting in the back seat of the Cadillac.

Detectives believe the shootings to be gang-related.

The 17-year-old, Jake Castillo, died from his injuries.

Sheriff Judd says Castillo was paralyzed in drive-by shooting on Parker Street in January 2011 where his 19-year-old brother Juan died.

"To be shot twice in two gang-related shootings, at 11 you are paralyzed and at 17 you are killed, it's horrific." said Judd. "And certainly we plan to hold the people accountable and turn them over to the State Attorney's Office who will appropriately prosecute them."

The man who fired the shotgun ran from the shooting scene. Deputies know who he is and are searching for him.