VALLEJO — The city has released body camera footage showing an officer shooting a man who began walking toward the officer, knife in hand.
The officer, Christopher Hendrix, can be seen on the video yelling commands at the suspect, identified as 49-year-old Edward Gonzales, and even warning Gonzales he is about to be shot. Gonzales either ignores the commands or responds with profanity.
Gonzales survived the shooting, and was charged with several felonies in connection with the confrontation. Hendrix fired four shots, but it is unknown how many times Gonzales was struck.
On the afternoon of Jan. 6, officers Hendrix and Rashad Hollis responded to a report of Gonzales trespassing on church property. The video shows them approaching Gonzales in the 400 block of Nebraska Street. He ignores the officers’ commands and hops a fence, as they try to use a Taser on him.
From there, the officers split up. Hollis gets in his car and drives around the block, hoping to cut off Gonzales’ route, while Hendrix follows Gonzales on foot. On the video, Hendrix can be heard telling Gonzales several times, “Show me your hands.”
“F— you,” Gonzales responds at one point.
Later, Gonzales approaches a large gate with metal spikes, and seems to realize he is cornered. Hendrix continues to yell commands, at one point telling Gonzales, “You’re about to get shot, dude.”
A few moments later, Gonzales takes a couple of steps toward Hendrix, and the officer fires four shots. Gonzales falls and throws the knife. Then Hollis shows up in his squad car, on the other side of the gate.
Vallejo Interim Police Chief Joe Allio said the department was releasing the video in the interests of transparency. Under a recently passed law, SB 1421, police agencies are required to release videos of shootings officers are involved in and other use of force confrontation.
After being treated for his injuries, Gonzales was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, brandishing a deadly weapon to resist or prevent arrest and trespassing.
A month after Gonzales was shot, five Vallejo officers shot 20-year-old Willie McCoy roughly 25 times, as he sat in the front seat of his car in a Taco Bell drive-through. McCoy had apparently passed out in his car, with a stolen gun in his lap, and the officers fired 55 shots at him after he moved forward in his seat. The shooting led to increased scrutiny of the police department’s use of force, and a lawsuit by McCoy’s family asking for federal oversight of the department.
The Gonzales and McCoy shootings were the only two shootings involved police in Vallejo this year. In addition to Gonzales’ shooting, Vallejo police have released video of McCoy being shot, as well as the 2018 fatal shooting of Ronell Foster by a Vallejo officer who was trying to stop Foster for a minor traffic violation.
Source: East Bay Vallejo police release video of officer shooting suspect in January