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Parents of man fatally shot by off-duty Austin police officer file lawsuit

Alex Gonzales Jr. died after being shot by police in January 2021.

AUSTIN, Texas — Two Bastrop County parents filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin for the death of their son, who they say was killed for no reason.

According to a complaint from Alex Gonzales Sr. and Elizabeth Herrera, their son, Alex Gonzales Jr., died last year after Officers Gabriel Gutierrez and Luis Serrato shot him.

Gonzales Jr. was said to be driving with his girlfriend and their two-month-old on the morning of Jan. 5, 2021, and Gutierrez was said to be off-duty and in his personal car. The complaint claims Gutierrez cut the young Gonzales' car off, which led to a confrontation that included Gutierrez stopping on Wickersham Lane in hopes of "baiting Alex and escalating events."

In a press conference that same day, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley claimed Gonzales Jr. cut off Gutierrez after he turned on Wickersham.

The complaint goes on to say that Gonzales Jr. pulled up and stopped beside Gutierrez, who then began shooting into the car. Gutierrez allegedly fired six rounds, hitting Gonzales Jr. in the head and his girlfriend in the torso.

Gutierrez is said to have called police saying Gonzales Jr. cut him off and "had pointed a gun at him," the complaint said.

In that Jan. 5 press conference, Manley said Gutierrez apparently saw Gonzales brandish a gun and that shots were fired.

After being shot, the complaint says Gonzales Jr. tried to flee and crashed into a curb. The complaint also says Gutierrez did not provide aid. 

Other officers, including Serrato, eventually arrived on the scene. The complaint claims Serrato fired several fatal shots at Gonzales Jr. after he apparently went to open the rear passenger door to check on his baby.

Gonzales Jr. had no weapon, kept his hands up and struggled to hear officer directions and understand the situation due to his injury, the complaint says. Video from the incident shows police repeatedly telling Gonzales Jr., "Do not reach."

Body cam footage of the incident was released on April 28, 2021.

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