Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

Shooting won't be prosecuted

Gonzales’ death found to be accidental after evidence review.

 

April 12, 2017



After more than a year and a half of investigation and review, 10th Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose announced his decision to decline prosecution in the shooting death of 17-year-old Patrick Gonzales.

“I want to express my appreciation, sympathy and respect for Patrick’s family, knowing that this decision is contrary to their wishes and only adds to the great pain and suffering they continue to endure,” Rose said.

Gonzales died on Oct. 1, 2015, during a shooting that injured another 15-year-old male on the 700 block of South Seventh Street in Tucumcari.

Rose said while the shooter, a 20-year-old man, was certainly negligent in the handling of his rifle, there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was consciously aware of and considered the risks of his actions, and his statement to police is that the discharge was accidental.

In addition, Rose said, the evidence in this case shows prior to the discharge, Gonzales grabbed the barrel of the firearm and pulled it, which was a contributing cause to the unintended discharge.

Rose said the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau conducted the investigation of the shooting and presented him with their findings. He said a review of the investigative materials was conducted by himself, three 10th Judicial assistant district attorneys and three additional independent experienced New Mexico prosecutors.

Rose said the sum of the admissible evidence led him to believe that the 20-year-old involved in the shooting is not guilty of any theory of homicide under current New Mexico Law.

Rose said after informing the Gonzales family of his decision, he offered to submit the case to three independent New Mexico district attorneys of their choosing for further review and consideration.

He said Barbara Romo, chief deputy district attorney of District 13; Tom Clayton, chief deputy district attorney of District 4 and Henry Valdez, former district attorney of District 1, also chose not to prosecute.

Valdez stated there is no physical evidence to support that the shooting was intentional, no eyewitnesses who will indicate it was intentional and no circumstantial evidence which can be used to support the theory of an intentional discharge.

Rose said the case will be sent to the Attorney General's Office where the final decision will be made regarding criminal charges.

A statement from Matthew Vance, the attorney for the Gonzales family stated, "The family of Pat Gonzales continues to grieve and mourn his loss. Understandably they are disappointed and frustrated that it presently appears (the man) will not be criminally charged or held responsible under our criminal laws. Pat’s family can only hope that the attorney general’s review results in a fresh perspective and criminal charges being brought against the person that shot and killed their son."

 
 

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