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Police Kill Carjacker at Athens Park

ACCPD officers and GBI agents at Walker Park on Sunday. Credit: GBI

Athens-Clarke County police shot and killed a man who had carjacked a vehicle Sunday at Virginia Walker Park.

Authorities also believe the same man — later identified as Juan Joseph Daniele Castellano, 38, of Athens — had been threatening strangers with a gun and shot at a vehicle in East Athens.

Police said they responded to a call on Saturday afternoon, May 22, about a man on Vine Street “walking around with a long gun attempting to get into altercations with strangers.” While searching for the suspect, police said they received another call from a woman who told them a man had shot a gun at her vehicle at Walker Park (formerly Trail Creek Park). She was not injured.

“Officers closed the park and conducted an extensive search on foot, as well as utilizing K9 and drones,” ACCPD said, but were unable to find the suspect.

Sunday morning, police said they received multiple calls about a man with a gun at Walker Park, including one that said he had carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, “Castellano got out of the vehicle with a long gun and began shouting demands at officers. Officers gave numerous commands to surrender. Castellano refused to comply. During the incident, shots were fired. Castellano was shot and died on scene.”

The GBI also said that Castellano is suspected of an armed robbery just minutes before the carjacking, and that he threatened park attendees with a gun, including children. No officers or civilians were injured.

As is ACCPD policy with officer shootings, GBI is handling the investigation and will turn the results over to District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez’s office to decide whether to prosecute.

Police asked that anyone with information contact Capt. Christopher Nichols at 706-400-7161 or

It was the second deadly shooting by ACCPD officers this year. In February, police killed a man who was pulled over while driving a stolen vehicle and fled into the woods, falsely claiming he had a gun during a standoff. ACCPD officers have shot eight people since 2019, killing seven.