Attorney for officer who killed Philando Castile: he reacted to gun, not race

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ST. PAUL, MN - JULY 07: The American flag flies at half mast outside of J. J. Hill Montessori School, where Philando Castile worked, during a demonstration for Philando Castile on July 7, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016 in Falcon Heights, MN. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

DALLAS — An attorney for a suburban Minneapolis police officer who killed a black motorist says the officer reacted to the man’s gun, not his race.

Minneapolis attorney Thomas Kelly told The Associated Press on Saturday that St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was reacting to “the presence of that gun and the display of that gun” when he opened fire on Philando Castile.

Castile’s girlfriend, who streamed the shooting’s aftermath live on Facebook, says Castile was permitted to carry the gun.

Kelly says Yanez, who is Latino, is distraught and saddened over the Wednesday shooting in the Minneapolis suburb of Falcon Heights.

Authorities say that during the traffic stop, Yanez approached Castile’s car from the driver’s side and another officer approached from the passenger side. Yanez opened fire, striking Castile multiple times.

Kelly wouldn’t elaborate on what led up to the shooting, citing a pending investigation.