JOSHUA TREE — Shane Castro had just finished his shift at the Valero gas on Sunday afternoon when he saw a confrontation between an older man and a friend of his, who was waiting for Castro so they could ride their scooters together.
Castro, 24, intervened and the man stabbed both him and his friend, family members said. Anthony Frugoli, 26, of Yucca Valley, suffered a stab wound that was not life-threatening. Castro had fatal stab wounds.
The suspect, 50-year-old David Urrea, from Joshua Tree, left in a car.
Deputies later found Urrea and shot him to death in the dry lake bed area.
The stabbing was reported around 1:03 p.m. Sunday at the gas station at 61794 Twentynine Palms Highway. Deputies found Frugoli suffering from a stab wound. Castro had already been taken to the hospital by a private citizen by the time deputies arrived.
Castro succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
By watching surveillance footage, deputies got the license plate number of the suspect’s car and identified Urrea as the registered owner.
Deputies searched for Urrea at a campsite near the gas station where he lived. He had recently notified the Sheriff’s Department he was living there, which he was mandated to do as he was a registered sex offender.
A crew in the Sheriff’s Department helicopter and deputies continued to search the area and found Urrea’s car on Broadway and Copper Mountain in Joshua Tree. The vehicle was occupied by Urrea and an adult woman.
Deputies shot Urrea and he died at the scene, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The passenger was not hurt.
Two teams of homicide investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the shooting and the stabbing.
Anyone with information for investigators is asked to contact detectives Tony Romero and Troy Mooradian at (909) 387-3589. Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at (888) 782-7463.
‘He always, always had a smile’
Castro was a former Yucca Valley High School student and a longtime local who was living in Twentynine Palms at the time of his death.
“He always, always had a smile no matter the circumstance,” his cousin Raeanne Holder said.
“He never judged people. He just accepted people for who they were, not judging them for their past. He worked hard to overcome obstacles that were placed in front of him and always strived to do his best and be his best.”
Comments from donors on his GoFundMe page describe a generous and smiling young man. “He once gave me and my boyfriend his last $5 so we could get something to eat,” one woman wrote.
Holder said that was “100 percent Shane.”
“Shane had so many friends and would give the shirt off of his back to any one of them,” she said.
He took the job at Valero recently and worked for UPS to help support his family: his mom, sister and two nephews, she said.
He was known for the stunts he did on his scooter and was sponsored by Rely Scooters shop.
He had also become fond of Honda Civics. “He loved to work on his Civics and was so proud of how hard he had worked to be able to afford this new hobby,” Holder said.
“With him gone our hearts have huge holes and as his family, he is going to be sorely missed.”
His friends have started a meal train account and a Zelle account for his family. There is also a GoFundMe to raise money for services. To donate, visit https://tinyurl.com/ShaneCastro.