A man shot and killed his 2-year-old son before turning the gun on himself in an early-morning incident on Poplar Springs Road in Hall County.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said deputies initially were called around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27 to a residence on Poplar Springs Road to answer a call about a man assaulting a 23-year-old woman. They said the man had left the residence with the couple's toddler son.
Once at the scene, deputies began to search for the suspect, identified as Christian Castro, 24, and the child, Christian Castro Jr.
According to information from Sheriff's Office spokesman Derreck Booth, deputies spotted Castro's vehicle entering a property to his residence.
"As deputies approached the car on foot, Castro fired several gunshots at them, but no one was injured," Booth said in a press statement. "Deputies could see Castro’s son sitting on his lap in the car."
Booth said Castro remained in the vehicle and was driving in a pasture on the property most of the time.
"A Sheriff’s Office hostage negotiator made numerous attempts to contact Castro by phone without success. At approximately 3:30 a.m., deputies heard gunshots coming from Castro’s vehicle," Booth said.
At that point, SWAT officers went to the car and found that Castro had shot and killed his son, then turned the gun on himself.
Booth said in a telephone interview that the child's mother sustained minor injuries in the initial altercation, and she did not require transportation to the hospital. He said investigators do not know yet what Castro's motivation might have been.
Both bodies have been sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory for autopsy.
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch issued the following statement about the incident:
"This morning our Deputies responded to a domestic violence call that ended in the worst possible way, with the death of a child. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the child’s family, and we ask that our community do the same. During the course of this incident the perpetrator fired upon the Deputies, who in turn demonstrated remarkable restraint by not returning fire out of concern for the safety of the child. They quickly contained the situation to ensure that no other lives were put at risk, and they undertook efforts to bring the incident to a peaceful resolution. Unfortunately, the perpetrator did not allow that to happen, as he made the decision to take the life of his own son before taking his own. This tragedy, as well as last week’s fatal shooting, serve as a somber reminder of how serious the issue of domestic violence is in our community. It is a rare day that an Officer in any jurisdiction works an entire shift without responding to a domestic-related call, many of which involve some form of physical violence. This is why the partnerships we share with agencies and organizations that work to combat domestic violence are critical. We want to emphasize that there is hope for those who find themselves in domestic violence relationships, as we have resources available that can be of assistance to victims to help them safely escape the situation, and hopefully avoid a tragedy similar to what we’ve seen today."