The defendant charged with gunning down an octogenarian couple at their home in a gated community in Palm Desert is the victims’ grandson, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Thursday.
Frank Castro, 83, and Carolina Castro, 81, were found shot to death after deputies responded to reports of gunfire shortly before 2 p.m. Sept. 11 in the 43000 block of West Calle Las Brisas, just east of Warner Trail.
Their 32-year-old grandson, Frank Scott Castro III, was standing at the front of the property and taken into custody without a struggle, according to police, who have not commented on a motive for the attack.
“I don’t know if someone snapped,” Jon Larson, a neighbor said. “It seems so unusual for what usually went on in that house.”
Larson said Castro was living with his grandparents for a period of time in the fall. Lately, he has not been around as much.
RSO did not confirm who made the police call but neighbors said they did not because no one heard the shots fired.
Castro faces two murder counts, along with a special circumstance allegation of perpetrating multiple killings and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. Prosecutors have yet to determine whether they will pursue the death penalty against him, according to district attorney’s spokesman John Hall.
Castro, who pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday, has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County. He is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside and is due back in court on Tuesday for a felony settlement conference.