Fatal shooting at church parking lot in Griffith

2014-04-21T22:30:00Z 2014-04-22T18:38:06Z Fatal shooting at church parking lot in GriffithElvia Malagon elvia.malagon@nwi.com, (219) 933-3246 nwitimes.com

GRIFFITH | A Chicago woman was killed Monday by her estranged husband in the parking lot of St. Mary's School who later turned the gun on himself, police said.

Nina Castro, 42, was shot to death about 4:30 p.m. in the school's parking lot in the 500 block of North Broad Street, Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance said.

Mance said Nina Castro was picking up her children from an after-school religious program when the shooting happened. Officials said her teenage children witnessed the shooting.

Remanard Castro, 55, fled the scene in a motorcycle and went to his home in the 600 block of Roosevelt Street in Gary, Mance said.

Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said his officers confronted Castro outside his garage and ordered him to drop his weapon.

Ingram said Castro shot himself in the head. He died at the scene.

“This event is a sad reminder of the serious issue that domestic violence is in our nation and that no community is immune to the tragedies it brings," Mance said in a news release. "As a community Griffith is saddened by today’s events but we stand resolved to assist the survivors of this senseless act.”

Mance said the couple had domestic issues, and Remanard Castro had an outstanding warrant from Gary. He said the community was sadden by the deaths.

One count of rape and one count of criminal confinement were filed against Remanard Castro in Februrary after an incident that allegedly occurred Nov. 23, 2013 in Gary.

According to court documents, his wife had arranged to meet Castro at his Gary home to pick up belongings as part of a divorce case. He is alleged to have forced her to have sexual relations after pointing a handgun at her head.

In the allegations filed in February, Castro was said to have put a crowbar to her head when he released her, adding the divorce wasn’t “going to be pretty" and that "the kids were going to suffer,” the probable cause affidavit states.

On Monday afternoon, Griffith, Highland and county officers surrounded the school's parking lot in the 500 block of North Broad Street. A portion of St. Mary's Church — next to the school — also was blocked by police cars.

Joe Slevnik lives across the street from the school and said his family heard sirens about 4:30 p.m. The family didn't think much of it because members often hear sirens near the busy intersection of Broad and Elm Streets.

"I hear them all the time, then I saw a bunch of parents on the side and thought holy cow," he said. "I saw cops surrounding the place."

The family said they never saw an ambulance at the scene.

The Lake County coroner retrieved the body just after 6 p.m. Two children in school uniforms then left the school in a Griffith police car.

St. Mary's Church Father Theodore Mens said Castro's teenage son helped with the after school religious program. He said the woman's 15-year-old daughter previously attended the school, and is a sophomore at Bishop Noll Institute.

"They were good kids," Mens said.

Nina Castro worked at St. Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago and was picking them up to go home when the shooting happened, Mens said.

Though the school's online calendar said school was in session Monday, officials said there weren't any classes besides the afterschool programs.

Parents picked up children from the school as police continued their investigation. Many said they weren't told what happened. Parishioners walked by the crime scene Monday afternoon to see if they could help. All declined to comment.

Mens said the shooting, which took place a day after Easter Sunday, was tragic.

"We'll take it a day at a time," he said.

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