Lemon Grove, CA – The San Diego District Attorney’s Office has determined that deputies acted in self-defense when they fatally shot an armed, drunken man at a Del Taco restaurant in January (video below).
The altercation occurred at the Del Taco fast-food restaurant on Broadway Street on Jan. 5, the district attorney’s office said in a press release.
Surveillance footage showed the suspect, later identified as 28-year-old Adolfo Angel Gonzalez, as he wandered over to the children’s play area and pointed a gun at a family seated inside.
The hooded gunman then walked over to the counter to place an order.
“Gonzalez appears to be waiting to order and while doing so removes the gun from the right pocket of his jacket, looks at it and then places it back in the same pocket,” the district attorney’s office said.
After receiving his food, the suspect made his way over to the dining room and sat down to eat.
But when San Diego County sheriff’s deputies walked into the establishment, Gonzalez immediately sprang into action.
The gunman ignored their commands to put his hands in the air, and instead drew his weapon and pointed it at the deputies, KNSD reported.
The deputies fired 24 rounds at Gonzalez, striking him eight times, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Toxicology testing revealed that he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.25 percent at the time of his death, according to the district attorney’s office.
Investigators later learned that the suspect suffered from mental illness and had recently purchased the gun he brandished inside the restaurant.
“Gonzalez’s family was aware of his mental health problems and had become increasingly concerned for his welfare as his mental state deteriorated,” the district attorney’s office noted. “The day this incident took place, Gonzalez told a family member he wanted to get into a shootout with police.”
The suspect’s sister told investigators that she and the rest of their family were gravely concerned when they learned Gonzalez had recently purchased the handgun and a shotgun, according to the district attorney’s analysis.
“They tried to think of ways to get Gonzalez separated from the guns, to no avail, as he would not agree to transfer the guns,” the report read.
The suspect’s family tried to push the issue, Gonzalez told them that “he was never going to end up in jail or a hospital,” according to the report.
“He said he was a natural born killer and a violent ‘dude,’ but he hadn’t reached his full potential yet, which meant doing something bad,” the family said, according to police.
He also told his sister that she didn’t need to worry about him hurting her, because “he had made a deal with his brain not to hurt his family,” the report read.
The gunman’s mother described him as having a “death wish,” and said he had warned them not to contact police about his mental state because “he would shoot the officers,” police said.
“You guys want to go home to your families too,” his mother told investigators, according to the report.
Another family member asked detectives to pass on the family’s apologies to the deputies involved in the altercation, “because they knew the deputies did not want to shoot someone,” police said.
“In that time of great suffering the family member somehow was able to extend graciousness to the detectives and thank them ‘for what you guys do,’” according to the report.
Prosecutors determined that the deputies’ use of deadly force was justified.
“The deputies fired at Gonzalez in their own defense and the defense of others, and therefore bear no state criminal liability for their actions,” the district attorney’s office said in the press release.
You can watch security and bodycam footage of the deputies’ encounter with Gonzalez in the video below. WARNING - Graphic Content.