AUSTIN, Texas — Two Austin police officers who shot and killed a man in southeast Austin in January of 2021 will not be indicted by a Travis County grand jury.
The case is related to the controversial shooting of Alex Gonzales. Police said Gonzales was involved in a road rage incident with Officer Gabriel Gutierrez, who was off duty at the time and in a personal vehicle. Officers Luis Serrato and Brian Nenno responded.
Police said Gonzales had a gun and pointed it at Gutierrez. Officers opened fire, killing him.
But an attorney for Gonzales' family said he never showed a gun and was never aggressive.
Gonzales' girlfriend, Jessica Arellano, was also in the car when the shooting happened and was hit by gunfire but is OK.
On Tuesday, Dec. 27, Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced Officers Gutierrez and Serrato will not be indicted.
“The District Attorney’s office takes the work of presenting all facts and evidence to a grand jury very seriously,” said Garza. “In this case, an independent group of members of the Travis County community heard the evidence and law and decided that Officer Gutierrez and Officer Serrato’s conduct was not unlawful.”
Attorneys for Officer Serrato Ken Ervin and Doug O'Connell released the following statement after the grand jury decision:
"Officer Serrato’s defense team would like to thank the members of the grand jury for acknowledging that Officer Serrato’s use of force was legally justified in the shooting incident on January 5, 2021. While it is highly unfortunate District Attorney Garza chose to prevent us from addressing you directly, it is clear you nevertheless carefully considered all facts and circumstances in arriving at your decision and ignored any pressure to return an indictment. We look forward to Officer Serrato’s immediate return to duty serving the residents of Austin. We also encourage every citizen in Travis County, especially those who will serve on a future grand jury reviewing police use-of-force cases, to insist D.A. Garza allow defense attorneys to present evidence when the defense attorneys request to do so."
In July, Gonzales’ parents filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin for the death of their son, whom they say was killed for no reason.
The lawsuit claimed that after being shot, Gonzales tried to flee and crashed into a curb. It claimed Gutierrez did not provide aid.
The complaint said Serrato fired several fatal shots at Gonzales after he apparently went to open the rear passenger door to check on his 2-month-old baby.
Video from the incident shows police repeatedly telling Gonzales, "Do not reach."
Body cam footage of the incident was released on April 28, 2021.