Family of man killed in officer-involved shooting suing City of Austin

The family of a man killed in an officer-involved shooting last year is suing the City of Austin. 

The lawsuit states the death of Alex Gonzales Jr., back in 2021, was senseless and APD practices are to blame.

"Alex Gonzales Jr.'s death was a devastating blow to his parents," said Scott Hendler, CEO of Hendler Flores Law.

The parents of Alex Gonzales Jr. filed a lawsuit against the City after their son was shot and killed by two Austin police officers 18 months ago.

"Elizabeth Herrera Gonzalez and her husband, Alex Gonzalez, are committed to holding the police department accountable to try and bring about change in the community," said Hendler.

In January 2021, Alex Gonzales Jr. was involved in an alleged road rage incident with an off-duty police officer. When backup arrived, two APD officers, Officer Luis Serrato and Officer Gabriel Gutierrez, shot and killed Gonzales after they claimed he wasn’t following commands. 

However, the family has come forward saying Gonzales was checking on his girlfriend and baby who were both in the car at the time of the incident.

"They are still struggling to cope with the loss and trying to make sense of it, which is impossible," said Hendler.

The 35-page lawsuit seeks systematic change within the Austin Police Department.

An excerpt from the lawsuit reads "Austin trained its police officers to adopt a paramilitary culture that caused them to adopt a ‘warrior mindset’ and an ‘us versus them’ approach to policing that permitted, encouraged, and tolerated excessive force."

The lawsuit claims this type of policing approved by the city resulted in Gonzales’ death.

"[Police are] guardians of the community. They're not warriors to go out and gun down our citizens," said Hendler.

The lawsuit filed by the parents also claims the city encouraged racist policing policies directed at people in the Black and Hispanic communities. The lawsuit hopes to get the city to change so another death like Gonzales can be avoided.

"We deserve a police department that lives up to the standards and expectations of the citizens of this community, and, right now, that's not what we have," said Hendler.

A City of Austin spokesperson sent FOX 7 Austin a statement in regard to the lawsuit: 

"The City will follow its regular process to respond to any civil lawsuit brought against the City."