When Brownsville Police arrived in response to a 911 call from Cummings Middle School, they found 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez armed in a hallway with a pellet gun that looked like a far more serious weapon. Police told him to put down the weapon At about 4 minutes in you hear the school principal say over and over “he’s drawing the gun.” In the audio below, you hear police say “put it down,” “put it on the floor.” You hear a man’s voice say “he says he is willing to die.” You hear police say “he’s running through the halls.”
Three shots from two officers were fired, hitting Jaime Gonzalez at least twice. He died in-hospital. The boy’s father, Jaime Gonzalez Sr. is asking why his son was shot in the back of the head, but police say (according to a Fox News report I heard just a few minutes ago) that the head injury was from the boy falling after he was shot.
A police report stated: ‘The weapon used by the suspect is a CO2 .177-calibre pellet pistol and is similar to a Glock type semi-automatic handgun.’
The Daily Mail identifies the photo above as Jaime Gonzalez with an unidentified female with the “boy’s pellet gun.”
Brownsville interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez denied the family’s accusations that the boy had been shot in the back of the head. He defended his officers, saying that the younger Gonzalez pointed the pellet gun at police and repeatedly defied their commands to put it on the floor.
Authorities also released a 911 recording from Cummings Middle School. The assistant principal on the phone first says there’s a student in the hall with a gun, then reports that he is drawing the weapon and finally that he is running down the hall.
On the recording, police can be heard yelling: “Put the gun down! Put it on the floor!” In the background, someone else yells, “He’s saying that he is willing to die.”
Before police arrived, school administrators had urged Jaime to give up the gun. When officers got to the school, the boy was waiting for them, Rodriguez said.
Moments before he was killed, Jaime began to run down a hallway, but again faced officers. Police fired down the hallway- a distance that made a stun gun or other methods impractical, Rodriguez said.
If the situation had involved hostages or a gunman barricaded in a room, police might have tried negotiations. But instead, Rodriguez stressed, this was an armed student roaming the halls of a school
The article linked above says, by law, pellet guns are sold with an orange band around the tip of the barrel, but buyers often remove that identification. According to police, owners sometimes paint over the orange with black paint.
School officials say they saw the gun in Jaime’s “crotch,” immediately called police and locked down the school. His parents do not know how he got the gun, and said they would never give him a gun. A school friend said the gun was a “gift” from someone.
Shortly before the confrontation, Jaime had walked into a classroom and punched a boy in the nose for no apparent reason, Rodriguez said. Police did not know why he pulled out the weapon, but “we think it looks like this was a way to bring attention to himself,” Rodriguez said.
I have to stand with the police. Jaime allegedly was violent inside a classroom before all this began. School officials tell police over and over that he is drawing his gun. There was no option for a long stand-off. The school is full of possible victims, and one boy was already a victim with a bloodied nose. He apparently draws a gun and runs through the hallways. What were they to do?
If you listen to the video, young Jaime Gonzales had every opportunity to follow police instructions, (which most of us routinely do) and put the weapon down. He was old enough to know to do that unless there is no respect for police in his home. If it is true that he said he was “willing to die,” then something was very, very wrong that his family didn’t know about or ignored. Tragic for everyone: for Jaime, for his family and friends, for those standing by and watching, for the school administrators, and for the police who now have to face this, and go to bed with it every night. I don’t believe they were just out kill a 15-year-old. Having said all that, maybe we will find that the facts are different from those portrayed above.
Jaime Gonzalez Cummings Middle School, Brownsville 911 Call