Family members and friends of Marceleno Gonzales are demanding a thorough and fair investigation into why a Richmond police officer shot and critically injured the 20-year-old last week.
Gonzales remained hospitalized in a trauma center Wednesday but was in stable condition, police said.
He was shot by an officer about 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2000 block of Nevin Avenue. According to police, as an officer approached Gonzales to question him, Gonzales pulled out a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine.
The officer opened fire in fear for his life, police said. Along with the gun, police said a “large quantity” of methamphetamine meant for sale was found in Gonzales’ clothing.
Gonzales’ loved ones aren’t buying the police department’s version of events. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, his parents and other family and friends appeared with signs that read “We Want Answers” and “Native Lives Matter.”
Courtney Cummings of the Richmond Native Wellness Center identified herself as Gonzales’ aunt and spoke during open forum. She said Gonzales is Native American, not Hispanic as police reported after the shooting. Gonzales has an unborn son due in May, she added.
“There are always multiple sides to every story, and I hope that with fairness and good judgment that you choose to look at this case closely and scrutinize it and seek the truth for my nephew,” Cummings said.
She earlier stated: “We are all not perfect people, but at the same time each of us deserves justice and fairness and equality.”
On Wednesday, Police Capt. Mark Gagan said two parallel investigations are occurring simultaneously: One being conducted by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, and also an internal investigation by Richmond police.
Gonzales could face charges of weapons possession and narcotics possession for sale depending on the DA’s investigation, Gagan said.
The department cited a history of police interactions with Gonzales since 2007, most recently an arrest in December for allegedly dealing drugs and possessing a firearm only a few blocks from where he was shot Thursday.