The family of Gabriel Lopez-Gonzalez, who was killed when he faced San Fernando Police officers in a confusing episode along Brand Boulevard in the City of San Fernando, has doubted the accounts of his death that occurred on Aug. 12.
Just recently, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office released Lopez-Gonzalez’ autopsy report, which has raised even more questions for the family. They have hired an attorney, and filed a civil complaint against the City, a prelude to a lawsuit.
According to Marisol Garcia, a cousin of Lopez-Gonzalez, the report shows the 22-year-old received 27 bullets in total — seven of them from a shotgun, including three that were to his back.
“The lawyer has sent the report to be analyzed to see if every single bullet wound which was on the back was an exit or entry wound,” Garcia told the (italics) San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol (italics end).
She noted the autopsy report also shows that Lopez-Gonzalez received two bullet wounds to his head.
More worrisome to the family, Garcia said, are the bullet wounds in Lopez-Gonzalez’ hands. The autopsy showed three or four bullet wounds on his right palm, his forearm and biceps.
“We don’t know if that means he had his hands up, because it’s kind of hard to get bullet wounds there in any other way,” Garcia said. “How is he going to have bullet wounds on his palm?”
The report also states that Lopez-Gonzalez did not have any signs of drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death, Garcia said.
The family’s attorney is still awaiting the release of the police report on the shooting that took place Aug. 12 in the driveway of a home in the 800 block of South Brand Boulevard, in the City of San Fernando. According to the police, Lopez-Gonzales was carrying a gun when they shot him.
According to details released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the police received a 9-1-1 call from a woman saying that she was being held at gunpoint inside her home by her estranged boyfriend and that he had arrived at her residence unannounced.
“When officers responded they observed a female running outside from the residence followed by a male with a handgun … He drew the handgun at the officers as they approached and that’s when the [officer involved] shooting occurred. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene,” Lt. Dave Coleman told media outside the home after the shooting.
Sheriff’s officials said there was another woman and two small children in the house at the time of the incident.
Coleman later indicated that Lopez-Gonzalez shot and hit his girlfriend as she ran down the driveway, and police responded with gunfire.
Coleman told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol the suspect had a semi-automatic weapon, and that the woman who ran from the house received a bullet wound to her back.
According to Garcia, Gabriel had been dating the 18-year-old girl, but she doesn’t know if she was still his girlfriend or they had split up.
The young woman was taken to the hospital. The bullet was still lodged in her back since doctors feared that if they took it out, it could do more damage, as it was close to her spinal cord. However, Garcia said that bullet was recently removed by doctors and the woman is now doing fine.
The account of the shooting by police seemed to be in contrast to the Lopez-Gonzalez his family knew. The young man was described as a full of life with a passion for horses, who was known to take part in (italics) charreadas (italics end) (Mexican style rodeos). He had no prior criminal record, and was working alongside his father in his landscaping business.
Lopez-Gonzalez was the oldest in the family (after an older brother passed away) and had a younger brother and sister.
He graduated from Northridge Academy where he played baseball and was attending Westwood College in pursuit of a business degree, according to Garcia.
The questions over the shooting appeared almost immediately after family members showed up at the scene. The family has also disputed the claims of the police about the supposed hostage situation. Garcia said they have phone records showing that it was the girlfriend’s mom who called him on that day, asking him to come over to the house.
Garcia told the (italics) San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol (italics end) she also heard a neighbor commenting that he had seen Lopez-Gonzalez come out of the house and stop, put his hands up (still with the gun in his hands) and shoot into the air once before getting on his knees. “And that’s when the cops went berserk,” Garcia said.
Cellphone footage of the incident taken by a passing motorist and later broadcasted by KNBC TV-4 showed several armed officers at the scene, and at least two of them with long guns. A woman is seen by the side of a palm tree outside of the house. As the officers approached the residence, they were confronted by Lopez-Gonzales, who was armed. At that point, the officer-involved shooting occurred.
All of these questions led the family to secure a lawyer who, according to Garcia, filed a civil claim against the City of San Fernando, which apparently was denied. The claim is a preview to the filing of a civil lawsuit