Former Metro police Sgt. Randy Casteel was replacing a faded American flag when he fell to his death Thursday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
A retired Metro police officer died on Thursday afternoon after he fell off a ladder in front of his Goodlettsville home.
Police said Sergeant Randy Casteel was replacing a faded American flag on a utility pole outside his home located in the 1500 block of Springfield Highway/Highway 41, between Tinnin Road and Old Springfield Pike, when he fell around 1 p.m.
"There is an American flag in front of Sgt. Casteel's house. He was a very patriotic individual [and] he had elected to put an American flag on the utility pole closest to the road to show his patriotism," Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron said.
Aaron told Nashville's News 2 the 12.5 foot ladder the 50-year-old was on, gave out from under him, causing him to fall and strike his head on the pavement.
According to police, a passerby saw Casteel lying on the ground near the roadway and attempted to render aid. He died at the scene.
Casteel worked for the Metro Police Department for 26 years and retired from the east precinct in May of 2011.
In 2005, Casteel was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by Metro police.
He, along with Officer Jacob Pilarski chased down a fleeing suspect as the man opened fire on the officers. Pilarski was hit in the shoulder, but survived.
Nearby store owner Linda Hand attended church with Casteel and often saw him in her store, Baker's Market, not far from his home on Springfield Highway.
"He was always so sweet," she said. "He would tell me if you ever have any problems all you have to do is call me I'm right down the road."
A number of customers stopped by the store and called to find out what happened in front of Casteel's home. Many were shocked to find out he died.
"I just felt horrible because he had just retired and he had just recently got married a few months back," Hand said. "I just hate it for them."
Aaron said there is no evidence of any vehicle involvement and that the department planned to classify Casteel's death as accidental.
Thursday, August 28 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:28:07 GMT
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