Crime experts dig into root cause of aggravated assaults in District 2

Shooting victim shares story, his formula to overcome violence

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Misael Gomez - Photojournalist, Adam B. Higgins - Photojournalist, Mark Mendez - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - District 2 is an area rich with history and culture, and it's a part of San Antonio experiencing major growth and development. In contrast, parts of the area have been known to be violent, and as a district, it had one of the highest concentrations of aggravated assaults last year. 

These types of crimes have been plaguing underserved areas of the district for generations.

Xavier Castile, a father of two, thinks back to about six years ago when what was supposed to be fun night out turned violent.

“I guess, I was just at the wrong spot at the wrong time. I guess, they thought I looked like somebody," he said.

Castile said that, within moments, he was shot six times.

“The first thing I thought about when I was laying on the ground was my son, because he’s junior," Castile said.

During an interview with KSAT, Castile pulled up his pant leg to reveal several scars he said were left behind from bullet wounds.

“It was with a .40, a .40 (caliber). It hit me right here, got two of 'em in the knees, and then one hit an inch away from my Achilles,” Castile said, pointing to the scars.

Castile said he was also shot in the back. He didn't want to mention the specific area of District 2 in where he was shot because he believes the people responsible are still out there.

What he is vocal about is the impact being shot six times has had on his life.

“It took me one month to learn how to walk again,” Castile said.

Still, he knows he’s one of the more fortunate ones.

“My little cousin just got shot on the East Side, and that affected a lot of people because he was young,” Castile said.

Castile said his cousin died in the shooting. 

According to the San Antonio crime tracker map, there were more than 200 reports of aggravated assaults in District 2 last year.

Dr. Milo Colton, a criminology professor at St. Mary's University, said the reasons for the violence are deep-rooted.

“It boils down to: If you want justice you’re going to have to get it yourself.” Colton said. “We all grew up with the norm, 'You don’t snitch.' Traditionally, African Americans have had to struggle in the system, and on many occasions, don’t put a lot of faith in the criminal justice system.” 

Based on decades of experience studying crime trends in San Antonio, Colton said he believes the violence could be quelled by creating more job training, educational opportunities and a willingness for local law enforcement to improve relationships with residents.

Colton said the issue, however, also lies within members of the community.

“There are those who resent others who are trying to succeed,” Colton said.

Castile remains determined to push through. After recovering, he got the opportunity to play arena football and decided to create his own job opportunities.

“As it is, they tried to cripple me, so it only made me power up. I started my own security business, Checkmate Security. We’ve been going on for about four or five years strong already,” Castile said.

Castile has this message for his community:

“The tough days and trying to get stripes days, trying to prove something days, are over with,” Castile said.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus has said he’s hoping to improve relationships between officers and residents. Colton said the best way to do it is get people from the community who can relate to residents and put them on the streets.

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