District attorney: Police were justified in Gonzales shooting

Thomas Garcia

After a four-month investigation, the October shooting death of a Tucumcari man by New Mexico state police has been ruled a justifiable shooting, Tenth Judicial District Attorney Ron Reeves said.

“The officers were acting in the line of duty when they had to shoot,” Reeves said.

Reeves said he reviewed a report that included all of the information gathered by state police on the Oct. 18 shooting death of Daniel Gonzales, 56. The shooting following a six-hour standoff with police.

“My determination is this was a justifiable shooting,” Reeves said. “I do believe, with the information I reviewed, Mr. Gonzales would have shot and possibly killed more than one officer.”

Reeves said the information he received indicated Gonzales’ actions before the shooting suggested he was prepared to injure or kill the officers responding to the call.

Officers initially responded to a domestic dispute report on Oct. 18 around 4 p.m., at Gonzales’ residence at 702 E. Laughlin Ave.

Officers established a perimeter outside Gonzales’ home. The Tucumcari Police Department was the initial responding agency until state police took over the situation, said New Mexico State Police Lt. Eric Garcia.

Garcia said the Albuquerque SWAT team was called in to support the state police.

The six-hour standoff with state police ended when Gonzales prompted the use of deadly force from the Albuquerque SWAT officers, Garcia said.

Garcia said that, at 10:30 p.m., Gonzales appeared at the front door with shotguns in both hands, threatening officers.

Garcia said shots were fired by Albuquerque SWAT officers, fatally striking Gonzales, after he “acted in a threatening manner towards the tactical officers on scene.”

Garcia and Reeves said the case has not been closed. They said they are still awaiting the state medical investigator’s report on Gonzales.