One man is now charged in the bank robbery in Gary last week, which left a 55-year-old Richard Castellana dead.
Castellana of Tinley Park recently retired in 2019 after more than 30 years on the job to enjoy his life with his wife. He also finally had more time to spend with his two kids.
“[He was] the best dad that I could ever ask for, honestly. Really,” Castellana’s daughter Caitlin said.
He was a Chicago sports fan through and through and he loved the White Sox.
His friends and family, as well as the team, plan to honor him here at the ballpark Monday.
“We were supposed to go to the game tomorrow with him,” Castellana’s longtime friend Jeff Hannah. “We are still going, but we are taking his kids.”
Now, his family will stand in his place a Guaranteed Rate Field as the team honors the Tinley Park father before the first pitch.
“It’s funny because we kind of go back and forth in that because I was a Cubs fan and he was a Sox fan, you know, but I didn’t hold that against him,” said longtime friend and colleague Deputy Ron Lapka.
On Friday, Castellana was shot and killed while working security at a bank in Gary Indiana. He was ambushed by two men.
James King, 24, faces murder and robbery charges in connection to the case. The suspect from Miami Florida was found hiding in the woods nearby with thousands of dollars in cash. Another man still on the run.
King appeared in court Monday morning, where he was denied bail.
Castellana’s daughter, Caitlin, is devastated by the loss.
“This is not the way this kind of person should go, ever,” said Caitlin, who is devastated by the loss.
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She recalls the last time she spoke with her dad.
“The same morning before he left, he gave me a hug and a kiss. We were joking around. He said, ‘I can hug and kiss you now because Stanley did not see.’ Then he left for work — that was it,” she said. “I am glad the last moment was a good moment if you know what I mean.”
Castellana, who was also known as Ricky, was the guy people just wanted to be around.
“He was just the ultimate man. Never a bad word to say about anyone,” said Hannah said.
Castellana was born and raised on the South Side where he lived with his wife.
It was in Blue Island where he met some of his closest friends.
“if you are having a bad day and Ricky came into the room, you would definitely be smiling before he left the room,” Dep. Lapka said. “He brightened everyone’s day, you know, and that’s why I think this is especially hard on everyone that knew him.”
“Ricky and I went to 1st grade together, said Santo Chichi, who is another longtime friend. “He was the life of the party. A jokester.”
The spirit Castellana has are all memories his friends will cherish.
“He was like a brother to me. I do not know what I am going to do without him,” Hannah added.
“What makes me strong about this, is to think that he wouldn’t want me to be upset over this, you know. Not upset, you know, just to his passing. He would want me to move on and just think of the happy things about him,” Dep Lapka said.
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for the family.
King entered an initial plea of not guilty and is expected to be back in court June 23.
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