Family of suspected Euless cop killer speaks out: 'Why did the police let him go?'
Jorge Brian Gonzalez was a paranoid drug addict who appeared to have a death wish.
He had started using drugs as a young teenager, spurred — his family believes — by being repeatedly sexually abused by a man they had met through their Arlington church who is now serving life in prison for the crime.
The drug use was steady and extensive. Family members said he had recently been taking “ice” — a street name for methamphetamines, which led to bizarre and sometimes violent behavior.
“I sometimes think he wanted to die,” said his father, Jorge Antonio Gonzalez.
Each time trouble erupted with his 22-year-old son, the father said he would call Euless police.
Officer David Hofer was among those who often responded to their Euless apartment.
On Wednesday, the Gonzalez family said they were emotionally crushed knowing that Hofer had died at the hands of their son, who police say had gone to J.A. Carr Park on Tuesday, armed with stolen weapons with plans to ambush officers.
Hofer was shot by Gonzalez after responding to a call of possible shots fired at the park. He died during surgery. Other officers responding to the gunfight shot Gonzalez multiple times. He was later pronounced dead at a Fort Worth hospital.
“What can I say,” Jorge Antonio Gonzalez, speaking in Spanish, said a day after the shootings. “Forgive what my son did. What my son did, I know it was wrong. … I ask for forgiveness from the family.”
But while remorseful for his son’s actions, the family also questions why he was released from the Euless jail Tuesday, just four hours before the gunfight.
Jennifer Gonzalez, 17, said her brother was high on ice when arrested by Euless police after the family had reported he had stolen money from the daughter.
“That’s not enough time for you to recover from ice,” she said.
Police said he had been jailed for public intoxication on Monday and released at 11:23 a.m. Tuesday. The shooting occurred at about 3 p.m.
“It’s their fault,” her father said. “Why would they let him out when he was on that stuff?”
Police Chief Michael Brown said Wednesday that Gonzalez was released after appearing at an arraignment hearing Tuesday morning and willingly accepting a sentence of community service.
Brown said Gonzalez did not appear to be intoxicated during the hearing or when released.
Sexually abused as a child
Jorge Antonio Gonzalez had come to the United States from Argentina in 2000.
Later, the father brought his son and daughter — then ages 7 and 1, respectively — to join him. The biological mother didn’t like living here and went back, he said.
The father said he worked long hours to support the family, saying “my children practically raised themselves.”
But not long after arriving, a young Gonzalez was sexually abused by Guillermo Raul Valle, a man that his family had met through their Arlington church, Iglesia Antioquia. Valle had reportedly had a history of taking advantage of recently arrived immigrants.
During Valle’s subsequent trial, Gonzalez, then 13, took the stand and testified about the sexual abuse he suffered when he was 8 or 9.
A jury convicted Valle on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, two counts of indecency with a child by contact and one count of indecency with a child by exposure.
He was sentenced to life in prison for the aggravated sexual assault conviction, 20 years for each indecency by contact conviction and 10 years for the indecency by exposure conviction.
Texas prison records show he is in the Polunsky prison in Livington and is not eligible for parole until July 2037.
Family members say as a result of his testimony, Gonzalez was granted a U-Visa, a temporary status for crime victims that allows them to stay in the United States.
But the sexual abuse he had suffered had a lasting effect on Gonzalez.
Soon, they say, he began using drugs as way to cope. From the drug use, he eventually grew mentally unstable, family members said.
Gonzalez attended schools in Arlington, Euless and Fort Worth but eventually dropped out, his father said.
“What happened to him as a young child is a tragedy but there is never an excuse to kill a police officer,” said Samantha Jordan, a spokeswoman with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
‘Guess it was his time’
Asked how often her brother got into trouble, Jennifer Gonzalez responded: “Where's the list? He's gotten into a lot of trouble. His favorite thing was to fight.”
Tarrant County court records show that Gonzalez has been in and out of jail since 2011 on more than a half-dozen convictions, mostly misdemeanor assaults.
Family members say he also stole from them to supported his drug habit. Recently, the father said, he reported to police that his son stole his $1,700 tax refund.
Then, on Monday, the father said he called police again, this time to report that his son had stolen about $500 from his daughter’s car. Police, in turn, arrested Gonzalez.
Jennifer Gonzalez said she was in school when she heard about the Tuesday afternoon gunfight at J.A. Carr Park, but she thought her brother was still incarcerated.
“My mind wasn’t, ‘Oh my brother did it,’ ” she said.
She had returned home to the family’s apartment, located about half a mile from the park, when she heard the news.
“I come home, a cop, a detective, I believe, and some guy from the SWAT came,” she said.
Jorge Antonio Gonzalez said he didn’t know where his son got the rifle — “I never wanted a gun in my home, especially with my child on drugs” — but Euless police said Gonzalez had several weapons in the drainage area at Carr Park where he staged his attack on Hofer.
After being released from jail, police said, Gonzalez forced his way into a home near the park to steal the guns.
Jennifer Gonzalez said that even though her brother was a bad kid and annoying, he didn’t deserve to die.
“I guess it was just his time,” she said.
Staff writer Jared Christopher contributed this report.
Length criminal past
Jorge Brian Gonzalez has been arrested numerous times, most of them in Euless.
▪ In July 2011, he was given deferred adjudication probation on a theft charge.
▪ In August 2011 he was arrested by Euless police for hitting a man with his hand while displaying a knife. Prosecutors later filed a motion to revoke his probation. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon but pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, 2011, to the lesser charge of misdemeanor assault with bodily injury. He was sentenced to 90 days for the assault and theft.
▪ In April 2013, Gonzalez was arrested by Grand Prairie police for driving while intoxicated. Dallas County court documents state that Gonzalez was “agitated and nervous” when stopped by the officer and was unable to complete a sobriety evaluation because he was “exhibiting aggression” toward the officer and refusing to cooperate. He later pleaded guilty to the DWI charge and was sentenced to 50 days in jail.
▪ In September 2014, Gonzalez was charged with assault causing bodily injury. Details of the charge were not available, but records show that he was sentenced to 70 days in jail on the misdemeanor.
▪ In March 2015, Gonzalez was arrested on accusations that he struck a family member with a board or club. He was convicted in July and sentenced to 45 days in jail.
▪ In June, Gonzalez was charged with terroristic threat of family/household. He was convicted the next month and sentenced to 45 days in jail.
▪ In August, he was again charged with terroristic threat of family/household, and in November he was charged with theft from a person for allegedly stealing a man’s cellphone.
▪ In January, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail in the theft case, a state jail felony, and to 90 days in jail for the misdemeanor terroristic threat charge.