Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

‘I’m not going to disappear’: Family of police violence victim file formal complaint against city

Daniel Guel

“I’m lost with words, but it’s okay, it’s going to be okay,” Elizabeth Gonzales said at a press conference on Jan. 30 after the deposition from her federal lawsuit against the city and the individual officers involved in the death of her son, Alexander Gonzales Jr., was made public.

Gonzales was shot 18 times by off-duty Austin Police officer Gabriel Gutierrez and responding officer Luis Serrato on the morning of Jan. 5, 2021. Gonzales’ girlfriend, Jessica Arellano, and their infant were also involved in the South Austin incident, according to the Office of Police Oversight. Arellano was shot three times while the infant was unharmed. 

The Travis County District Attorney declined to indict Gutierrez and Serrato for the incident in December 2022, according to a press release. The next month, APD reinstated the two as full- time officers without disciplinary action. 

Over three years later, the Gonzales family filed a formal complaint on Monday against Gutierrez with the Office of Police Oversight over the city’s refusal to release APD’s internal investigation documentation about the incident to the public. The complaint also asserts Gutierrez “continues to make a myriad of demonstrably false statements regarding his role in the officer-involved shooting.” 

“Going back to January 5, 2021… Ever since that day, my family has been asking the same simple question,” Elizabeth Gonzales said at the conference. “What happened?” 

The family’s lead attorney, Donald Puckett, said the family and legal team decided to release video clips of Guiterrez’s testimony and cross-examination from the lawsuit to reveal his account, which Puckett  “alleged to be inconsistent” of proven case facts. 

This includes Gutierrez’s claim that he did not see Arellano before shooting her three times during the 2021 incident, though he fired the original eight shots from his personal vehicle through Gonzales’ passenger side where Arellano was sitting, according to a 2021 police briefing

According to the deposition, Gutierrez claimed he aimed for Gonzales’s upper torso when he fired his weapon at Gonzales’s car. Yet, Puckett pointed out the bullets at the scene left a “spray pattern,” and the fact he was not aware his shots hit Arellano during the incident, suggests Gutierrez used an inappropriate firing tactic, Puckett said during the press conference.

“There essentially has been no additional information released to the public regarding the facts and events of what actually happened inside that very short two-second window of time,” Puckett said during the conference. “(Gonzales)’s car pulled up next to Officer Gutierrez and almost immediately, a barrage of gunfire was unleashed from Officer Gutierrez’s car.” 

Elizabeth Gonzales, backed by colleagues from the Austin Justice Coalition, called on Mayor Kirk Watson, Austin City Council, Police Chief Robin Henderson and other city officials to demand the release of APD’s internal investigation of the shooting and to reevaluate the police response to the event, given Guiterrez’s recent testimony. The family does not intend to settle.

“I am not going nowhere, and I’m not going to disappear,” Elizabeth Gonzales said. “My story will be told whether you like it or not. … I lost my son. He was everything to me, so I want you to know what they did to me.”

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About the Contributors
Vivien Ayers, Senior News Reporter
Vivien is a journalism and sustainability studies sophomore from Denton, Texas, who is an associate news editor for the Spring 2024 semester. She was previously a news desk editor for Fall 2023 and a senior news reporter covering campus breaking news, the city metro and politics in Spring 2023.
Kylee Howard, Associate News Editor
Kylee is a second-year journalism major from Waco, TX. She is currently an Associate News Editor but formerly served as a News Desk Editor.
Daniel Guel, General Photographer
Daniel is a fourth year journalism student from Houston, TX. He is currently a  general photographer at the Texan.