T.G.I. Friday's offers reward for slaying info

A T.G.I. Friday’s night manager, described by grief-stricken co-workers as “always working hard,” “very cheerful” and a favorite among employees, was found dead in a pool of blood on the floor of the San Mateo restaurant early Monday morning in what police said may have been a murder motivated by robbery.

The death is the city’s first homicide since 2006.

The victim was identified by police as Hayward resident Douglas Castillo, 36. A day manager found Castillo on the floor around 5:15 a.m. Monday and immediately called police, San Mateo police spokesman Lt. Mike Brunicardi said.

Little is known how about Castillo died, though Brunicardi said that there was blunt trauma to the head.

What is known, however, is Castillo’s dedication to his job as well as how kindly he treated the restaurant staff. T.G.I. Friday’s waiter Akeem Holland said he’d worked with Castillo on Sunday night. When he and a co-worker left around 2 a.m. Monday morning, Castillo and a few other employees were still at the restaurant.

“When we left, Doug was in a good mood and he was ready to close out and leave,” he said.

Holland described Castillo as “one of my favorite managers here. He was always very cheerful, always looking to help people do their job better.”

Castillo also worked a few nights a week as a manager at the T.G.I. Friday’s in San Bruno.

“He was a very, very nice man,” said a choked up Natalie Tuckett, a waitress in the San Bruno eatery.

The motive for the slaying, Brunicardi said, was robbery. As of Monday night, police would not release any information on what weapon may have been used, why robbery is suspected or where in the restaurant Castillo was found. When asked whether any suspects had beenidentified, he said, “Nobody’s been eliminated at this point.”

Throughout the day, forensic specialists and police detectives scrutinized the interior and parking lot of the restaurant, located at 3101 El Camino Real across from the Hillsdale Shopping Center. Many restaurant employees came to the crime scene, sobbing and consoling one another.

Restaurant regulars Marji Fields and her husband visited the eatery after hearing about the slaying. She said the two have eaten at the restaurant about twice a week for years. She said recently she’s noticed more rowdy behavior and altercations among customers at the restaurant.

“In fact, recently we’d decided to stop coming here quite as much,” she said. “There’s been some times when there’s been people they’ve had to kick out.”

T.G.I. Friday’s is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. Derek Farley, the restaurant spokesman, spoke on behalf of the restaurant management and said, “[O]ur hearts and prayers go out to the family of our team member.”

kworth@examiner.com  

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