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Journal: Accused shooter was obsessed with Columbine shootings

Posted August 5, 2009
Updated August 6, 2009

— Excerpts from the journal of Alvaro Rafael Castillo showed the 22-year-old accused of killing his father and then firing a weapon at Orange High School was obsessed with the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999.

“I am not only obsessed with Columbine. I am obsessed with guns,” he wrote.

Prosecutors read entries dated January through April of 2006 during Castillo's trial Wednesday. 

"I would have loved to meet them and 'been their friends,'" Castillo wrote of the Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

Castillo also sympathized with John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

In the journal, Castillo indicated he wanted to buy a shotgun or rifle and name it after a girl he liked. Castillo also wrote that he planned to go to North Carolina State University and shoot himself in front of the woman.

After a failed suicide attempted in April 2006, Castillo was treated at UNC Hospitals. Upon returning home, Castillo planned his own "Columbine-like massacre" at Orange High, according to the journal. Castillo wrote that he would "sacrifice" some students before killing himself.

“A school shooting has never happened in North Carolina, and it is high time one happens,” Castillo wrote.

Castillo had originally planned to do the shooting on Aug. 29, 2006 but changed it to the next day when his friends set their wedding date for Aug. 29. He noted that Aug. 30 was the anniversary of New Orleans being flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the birthday of Kipland Philip "Kip" Kinkel, who murdered his parents and opened fire at a a Springfield, Ore. high school in 1998.

Throughout the journal, Castillo also wrestled with committing suicide and his sexuality.

Orange County sheriff's investigator Rick Smith said he drove Castillo from Orange High to the sheriff's office after the shooting and that Castillo was agitated, upset and fidgety.

Smith said he spent the next several hours listening to Castillo talk about various topics, including the shooting, Columbine and his fear of being gang-raped in jail.

castillo journal Castillo's journal read during trial

"He was moving around in his seat in the car and constantly talking about somebody (needed) to kill him and whatever, and I was just trying to calm him down," Smith said.

Although his hands were cuffed behind his back, Smith said Castillo tried to wrap the seat belt around his neck. Smith then removed the seat belt from him, he said.

When they arrived at the sheriff's office, Smith said he listened as Castillo admitted to shooting and killing his father, Rafael Huezo Castillo, and then shooting at the school, injuring two students.

"He said that his father was dead and that he saw the blood exploding out of his head," Smith testified. "(He said) the father was reading the newspaper, and he just started shooting. He said he didn’t want him to be a vegetable. He just wanted him dead for the sake of the mother and sisters."

Castillo also described his father as a "sacrifice," Smith said.

Smith's testimony came on the third day of the trial, which is expected to last into next week. Castillo has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges.

Orange County sheriff's investigator Doug Koehler read from a letter found next to Rafael Castillo's body.

“I just sacrificed my father. I am not proud for what I did. I will see him soon in heaven. I am sorry. I am crazy,” the letter stated.

In the final journal entry on Aug. 30, 2006, Castillo wrote, "I just killed my father. It felt good! He is finally dead."

A judge also ruled that jury could see photos of the crime scene where investigators found Rafael Castillo.


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  • Raleigh Boys Aug 5, 2009

    He really needs help, but at least he will have free air conditioning and cable tv for life. And today at the Orange County jail, the best fried chicken in a 20 mile radius.

  • csswisher Aug 5, 2009

    Yes, sociopaths are all about themselves........put him away and get him some help and above all, keep him off the streets...he's dangerous......

  • Heatherbrook Aug 5, 2009

    Deepest sympathy the all families. Please don't let this man go free to do this again.

  • Professor Aug 5, 2009

    This young man has serious mental issues and should be sent to an institution for life.

  • affirmativediversity Aug 5, 2009

    Okay, I've tried to give this guy the benefit of the doubt BUT I'm more and more convinced this guy is no more "insane" than your average sociopathic murderer.

    Its appears to be ALL ABOUT HIM...

  • Adelinthe Aug 5, 2009

    Of course he was figety; he'd just committed murder.

    Praying for all those he hurt, especially his own family.

    God bless.