AUSTIN, Texas - After nearly five months, body camera footage from the deadly shooting of Alex Gonzales Jr. was released Wednesday.
Video shows security footage from a nearby apartment complex, audio from the initial 911 call, dash camera video, and body camera footage from responding on-duty officers.
The initial shots fired came from an off-duty officer, Gabriel Gutierrez who tells dispatchers it was a road rage incident, that Gonzales cut him off and pointed a gun at him.
As he's on the phone with dispatch, Gutierrez is heard calling out to Gonzales to drop his gun. He also tells dispatchers there was a woman, the passenger in the car, lying on the ground.
Dashcam footage starts at 12:37 am as on-duty officers arrive. Officer Luis Serrato is seen on the video walking up to Gutierrez's car which is behind Gonzales. Gutierrez tells the other officers that Gonzales has a gun in the driver's seat. APD later did confirm that a weapon was found in Gonzales's car.
In the video, officers instruct Gonzales not to reach for his gun. Gonzales instead keeps walking around the car and reaches into the car door. That's when Serrato fires his gun, shooting Gonzales.
Attorneys for Serrato say releasing this video was premature.
"We just get what a few cameras show which paints not only an incomplete picture but a picture that people will make inferences from that are untrue," said Ken Ervin, one of Serrato's attorneys. "You have to put yourself in the officers' shoes and ask what is he doing? Why is he ignoring every command and what is he about to pull out of the car and use on us?"
The attorneys say they're all for transparency, but this is not the way to do it.
"If you want transparency, let's create a Dropbox online and have the Austin Police Department put their entire investigation in it and give it to the public so the public can see in real-time what the police department is doing in real-time to investigate the case - that's transparency," Ervin said.
"When you release evidence before a trial you create problems for our client," said Doug O'Connell, Serrato's other attorney.
Per APD's policy, video of critical incidents are to be released within 60 days.
The attorney for Alex Gonzales Jr.'s family says the shooting was unjustified, adding if the officers felt Gonzales was a threat, they should have stayed behind the car, not move into the open, and that officers could have used other measures to try and de-escalate the situation.
There are two ongoing investigations by APD in this case, one into Officer Gutierrez who first shot at Gonzales and his passenger, and one into Serrato, the responding officer who fired the deadly shot. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
The Austin Police Association also issued a statement on the release:
"The Austin Police Association (APA) has reviewed the video released today by the Austin Police Department regarding two of our members. The APA and our membership value human life and neither officer who used force in this case woke up that day hoping to be involved in a shooting. The unfortunate reality of police work is that officers are oftentimes put in situations where they are forced to react to the actions of others and at times, these situations end with terrible outcomes.
"The APA hopes that the family of Mr. Gonzales can one day find closure. We feel for his loved ones and we understand their pain.
"We also hope that our members can be treated fairly while this case goes through the Travis County criminal justice system. The APA hopes that our members are never put into a position to have to use deadly force ever again, but we sadly know that this is not a situation of if it will happen again, but when. The APA believes that our officers have a right to defend themselves and others and we firmly stand with Officers Gutierrez and Serrato."
WHAT HAPPENED ON JAN. 5?
Austin police say an off-duty APD officer, who was in his own car and not in uniform, was driving home. They say Gonzales allegedly cut him off and pointed a gun at him. The officer then allegedly shot at Gonzales, who had his girlfriend and baby also in the car.
Gonzales continued to drive southbound on Wickersham Lane before finally stopping against a curb. The officer stopped behind his vehicle and called 911.
Witness video, obtained by FOX 7 Austin, shows the moment when back up officers begin to arrive and the full encounter.
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.
Elizabeth Gonzales, Alex's mother, said that her son never would have started any commotion. "He was a good sweet person," she said.
She says the events still leave her in disbelief. "When this happened, like my own world ended, my world stopped," she said. "Since that date, I can't move on. I won't move on until some justice has done for my son."