Video challenges Antioch PD's account of 2012 fatal officer-involved shooting

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- New information has emerged in a case involving Bay Area police officers who shot and killed a man in Antioch more than two years ago.

In April of 2012, officers shot 35-year-old Danny Gonzales. Antioch police claimed Gonzales fired first. ABC7 New has obtained police video and internal reports that show Gonzales never fired a shot.

There's no argument that Danny Gonzales was heavily intoxicated when he called a friend and threatened to kill police. What's being disputed now that police helicopter video has emerged is how it all happened.

ABC7 News first reported in 2012 that an officer-involved shooting led to the death of Gonzales. Antioch police said Gonzales fired a shot at them which led to a return barrage of bullets that killed him.

Andrea Gonzalez says she was told her husband, an Antioch barber, died at the hands of police because he fired at them first.

"We were getting ready to start our new life with a new baby, new home," said Danny Gonzales widow Andrea Gonzales. "It still wasn't sitting inside of me that this was true, and I just needed answers."

She hired an attorney who obtained police helicopter video of Danny Gonzales walking out of his home holding a handgun. He was already surrounded by Antioch SWAT officers. It's not clear what startled him, but police believed he fired first. They returned fire with nearly 60 rounds that killed Danny Gonzales. He was shot in the back twice.

"One of the officers was overly excited and fired a shot as soon as he came out and that led other officers to believe shots were fired and it was just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom," said Rob Cartwright, the plaintiff's attorney.

Attorneys for Gonzales' widow say a video proves he never fired a shot. A forensic analysis found that his gun was still on safety.

Deputy Assistant District Attorney Barry Grove admits this video was never part of the evidence in the internal investigation that helped him draw his conclusion. After viewing it, he sees Gonzales pointing his gun at police while he's retreating.

"In doing so, he raised the gun up and turned it around and pointed it back toward the direction of the police officers," Grove said.

The district attorney says his conclusion that there was no wrong doing stands. Antioch City attorney Lynn Nerland says a civilian jury found that when officers located Gonzales, he advanced toward them, armed with a loaded handgun.

"Thank God there's a video in this case. That's all I can say," Cartwright said.

Attorneys for Gonzales believe the video is so contradictory to the findings, they are now suing the city of Antioch.
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