Fresno murder victim, 12, saves another child's life

December 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A 12-year-old gunned down inside his home in Southeast Fresno last week gave a priceless gift in his death.

Matthew Castillo was taken off life support Sunday after he was shot in the head. So far, no arrests have been made in the murder.

Matthew's family says he was the life of the party. He was dancing around in his family's living room moments before at least eight bullets shattered his family's holidays and stripped his life. But, his grandmother says she gave a gift to a 10-year-old girl in Los Angeles who had just days to live.

Alma Garza usually loves Christmas. But, this one has been an absolute nightmare.

Garza said, "And the reason they got him, I guess is because he was the only one that was up."

The holiday season took a tragic turn for Garza's family last week. Fresno police say a gunman walked up to the home and fired at least eight bullets at close range. Matthew was hit. His twin brother rushed to try and help.

"That's when my mom was screaming Matthew, Matthew, come on, come on, get up," Mark Castillo said. "He didn't want to get up so I ran to him and I flipped him over. And that's when I tried to give him CPR but he didn't wake up."

Large bullet holes are still left in the bay window at Garza's home. The Christmas display she arranged with Matthew is now a painful reminder of his death.

Sunday was a very difficult day. Through tears, the family made a choice to save a life just as Matthew's ended.

Garza explained, "Everyone said their last goodbyes and they take him away and start harvesting his organs-but he had a fever, so the only thing they could take was his heart."

The seventh grader who family members say enjoyed riding his bike gave a priceless present that a young girl desperately needed.

"There was a little girl in la, that's 10-years-old that was a perfect match for his little heart," Garza said. "And she got the call of a lifetime, a Christmas gift because of Matthew."

Although Matthew saved a life, family members say grief overwhelms them constantly. They live in fear and some family members have already started moving out.

Fresno police say they are working to solve Matthew's murder, but have not received a single tip from the public.

Mark Salazar with the fresno police department told ABC30, "I don't think this was just a random shooting into a house. This was deliberate and like I said, close."

Celebrating Christmas has now been replaced by planning a funeral. Garza says she's trying to remember the hope Matthew gave another family.

"It doesn't matter what race, nationality, what circumstances, she was very sick," Garza said. "And look what comes out of this. A life, he lives on."

Police say they are still trying to figure out who may have been targeted in the shooting.

For now, the family is planning several fundraisers to help pay for burial costs.


Load Comments