Austin police officers involved in deadly Wickersham Lane shooting identified
AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Department has identified the two officers involved in the deadly shooting on Wickersham Lane on January 5, 2021 as it says it continues to investigate the incident.
The officers have been identified as Officer Gabriel Guiterrez and Officer Luis Serrato. Guiterrez has five years of service with APD and was the initial off-duty officer. Serrato has two years of service and was the responding on-duty officer. Both fired their weapons and both have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Officials say that due to recent weather-related closures that APD will not be releasing any video of the incident during the initial 60-day timeframe. APD plans to release the video no later than April 4, 2021.
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WHAT HAPPENED ON JANUARY 5, 2021?
Officers Guiterrez and Serrato were involved in a shooting on January 5, 2021, in the 2500 block of Wickersham Lane near Oltorf Street in Southeast Austin.
At a news conference, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says the incident happened at around midnight and involved an off-duty officer who was going home and encountered a man in a car who pointed at a gun at the officer's car. The officer fired and the suspect was hit.
In a release, APD says that the officer called 911 at 12:34 a.m. and reported he'd been involved in the shooting incident. According to the officer, he was driving through a neighborhood and turned southbound onto Wickersham Lane, then noticed there was a car behind him. This car cut the officer off and once it pulled up alongside his vehicle, the officer saw the driver point a gun at him.
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APD says the officer fired at the suspect, and the vehicle continued to travel a short distance southbound on Wickersham Lane where it finally stopped against the curb. The officer stopped behind the suspect's vehicle and called 911.
APD says that on-duty officers arrived minutes later and captured the next portion of the incident on body-worn cameras. The footage shows the suspect vehicle stopped along the curb with the off-duty officer's personal vehicle behind it. The off-duty officer gave commands to the driver and as backup approached, they continued giving commands to the driver who was now outside the driver's side.
Despite verbal commands, the driver walked around the rear of the vehicle towards the passenger's side, says APD. The driver opened what appears to be the back-passenger door of the vehicle. As the driver reached into the vehicle, an on-duty officer fired at the driver who went down.
Officials say that a gun was found in the suspect's car.
RELATED: Austin police identifies man killed in officer-involved shooting
WHO WAS ALEXANDER GONZALES, JR.?
27-year-old Alexander Gonzales, Jr. was the person shot and killed. His family says Gonzales was a proud truck driver and new father. Gonzales's family also says Gonzales's girlfriend and son were with him when the shooting happened.
In an interview with FOX 7 Austin, Gonzales’s family says they believe the shots were "overkill." His father Alexander Gonzales Sr. said, "...my son died on the ground struggling for air, while his baby’s crying and his girls bleeding on the ground…"
Gonzales' parents and sister believe he was reaching for his infant in the back seat. "You know why he reached in the back? He’s reaching for his baby, to check his son. His girl got shot, his baby’s in the back screaming and crying. What would y’all do if you had people unloading rounds on you?" asked Alexander Gonzales Sr.
Gonzales’s mother Elizabeth Gonzales says her son was the family’s "protector." She said. "He cared for his family more than himself, they were his everything… his girlfriend and his baby were everything to him, and if he had to risk his life he would have done, he would do -- any man would do it for the family."
Gonzales’ sister, Angel Gonzales said "...people need to come out and get justice because it’s not right, it’s not right what they did to him, and it’s not right what they’re doing to other people that are minorities." She was celebrating her 21st birthday when she learned her brother had been killed.