SLO County deputy shoots dog three times during suspected burglary

June 20, 2020

Junior Gonzales

By KAREN VELIE

A San Luis Obispo County sheriff deputy who wrongly assumed a man was robbing a dry cleaners on June 15, shot the man’s dog three times. An Atacadero police officer then handcuffed the man’s wife, even though the couple lives on the premises and no crime had occurred.

On June 14, Junior Gonzales, 40, and his wife Alexandria Panos drove down to Escondido to visit Gonzales’ sister and to pick up business supplies. The next evening, Gonzales dropped his wife off in SLO to pick up her car, and drove back to their studio apartment next to the family business — Fashion Dry Cleaning & Laundry at 7800 El Camino Real.

At about 11:30 p.m. on June 15, a deputy driving by the business noticed the front door was open, the business lights were out, a car with its trunk open in the parking lot, and a man was pushing a laundry cart towards the vehicle.

Suspecting a burglary in process, the deputy exited his patrol vehicle, drew his gun and identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy.

Gonzales’ two pit bulls, Roxi and Luna, began barking at the officer. Roxi then ran toward the deputy, who told Gonzales to get his dog, before shooting the dog three times.

Gonzales said he hesitated out of fear the deputy would shoot him.

“She ran up to him barking,” Gonzales said. “She started to sit down. She was looking up at him, wanting to be petted.”

The deputy shot one round into the 1-year-old dog’s jaw, another bullet into the dog’s chest and a third bullet grazed the dog’s leg, Gonzales said.

Even though Gonzales informed the deputy, and officers who arrived after the shooting, his wife was on her way home, when she arrived an Atascadero officer cuffed her and detained her for about 10 minutes.

Following the shooting, a local veterinarian treated Roxi, and released her the same day. While Roxi is expected to fully recover, both Roxi and Luna now bark when customers come to the dry cleaners. Following the shooting, Luna refused to eat for three days, said Yasuro Gonzales, the owner of the dry cleaners and Junior Gonzales’ father.

The sheriff’s office offered to pay for all vet bills related to the incident, but the family declined on advice of an attorney.

Conflicts between law enforcement and the Gonzales family began approximately 11 years ago when deputies  forced entry into Yasuro Gonzales’ unlocked San Miguel home, and then ransacked the dry cleaners based on a bad tip from an informant.

On Aug. 10, 2009, an officer yelled “search warrant” outside a large plate glass window at the dry cleaners. Moments later, the officer hit the window cracking it. Another officer then began beating out the glass with what looked like a bat.

Approximately 10 officers participated in the raid of the dry cleaners, while another team of law enforcement personnel smashed through a garage door at Yasuro Gonzales’ San Miguel home.

“The front door was open,” Yasuro Gonzales said. “They didn’t even try it. They told me to put a claim in to the City of San Luis Obispo (the lead agency on the raid).”

Though the family tried, they were not paid the thousands of dollars in property damages they incurred, Yasuro Gonzales said.


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fish

Another lawsuit in the making.


mazin

We will pay for poor policing.


mtasseff

No we are paying for a destructive society that no longer teaches their children to how to be respectful and responsible. Children are taught to be victims. If you tell a child that they are victim they will become a victim. What happen to the days when parents taught their children to respect authority and that handouts were an insult that led you down the road to dependence (aka welfare).They have been taught that they do not have to work for what they want because they should be given everything for free. We reward bad behavior and punish those who are trying to do the right thing. After all its so much easier to be a bad kid then it is to be a good one. Its less work to be a bad kid because society rewards that bad behavior by no longer holding these people accountable. If we as a society did a better job of teaching our children and not creating a society of victims we wouldn’t need to have the police fix our mistakes. Remember you are the one who determines your destiny not other people. We need to stop blaming others for our bad judgement.


mtasseff

True its so much easier to file a lawsuit than it is to get a job.


Freethebud

This shit right here is the reason the police need to be demilitarized. This shoot first ask questions later, run roughshod over the public must come to an end. The police are our servants and as such are there to serve and protect us, not damage our property and harass us and certainly not there to kill our pets. Shame on you SLO Sheriff’s.


mtasseff

They are your “servants” aka your slaves? No they are not your servants they are hardworking people who become law enforcement officers because unlike you they want to make the world a better place. Shame on you “Freethebud”. So drugs are the reason why you hate police officers? Remember if you don’t like don’t call them when someone breaks into your house and steals your weed, take care of it yourself.


mazin

no wonder black men are afraid.


derasmus

Not helpful


shelworth

Please fire this irresponsible officer quick before he shoots and kills someone and we have weeks of rioting, looting and burning!


1smartdude

Why was a SLO County Deputy patrolling a property on El Camino in Atascadero?

Atascadero has its own police department.


There are dozens of square miles of unincorporated SLO county where the sheriff’s department is the only law enforcement agency.


The deputy sheriff should have been patrolling in unincorporated parts of SLO county, not in Atascadero.


commonsenseguy

Often the Sheriff deputies pass through the Atascadero City limits while on their way to patrol or answer a call in the unincorporated areas that surround the city. There is nothing unusual about them being within city limits while heading out for patrol in those areas. They are responsible for the areas east, west, north, and south of the city which are all unincorporated areas. In addition Highway 101, Highway 41, and El Camino Real(main street through the city) crisscross the city leading to these areas. It’s very common to see them, and even make a traffic stop within the city limits if it is necessary. I am happy to have than extra patrol passing through many of our county cities. That’s a good thing.


mtasseff

Cal Poly Police drive thru downtown SLO and have been a great asset to the local police department. Police officers see possible criminal activity and they are legally obligated to address it. Please be aware that many police departments and fire departments have mutual aid agreements with other law enforcement and fire agencies. What if the spotted a house on fire or a car accident do you want them to just drive away and let the local police or fire department address it? How about if you or your family member were having a heart attack in Atascadero do you want them to ignore you and let the local police/fire take care of it. Please think about what you are saying.


mtasseff

No I think they should all not respond to any calls during that rioting, looting and burning. I also think they should make sure that they know all the people who want to defund the police so they can place those people and their neighbors on the “do not respond to list.” After all when they are “defunded” they won’t have any officers to answer all those calls for service. Instead they can send out the local social worker.


Mitch C

As someone who was attacked by, in the words of the owner, a friendly dog. May I suggest that the owner control his animals. In the future if a dog charges me I would take the same action as was taken by the deputy.


r0y

Oh, I don’t know, Mitch… maybe keeping your “animal” inside your property might be considered a pretty good form of “control,” don’t you think?


derasmus

I hear you, I was assaulted once by a “friendly dog @ that was off leash. And, I am a dog owner, two from animal control at this time.


FoxtrotYankee

It’s the owner’s private property.


A dog owner can keep their dog off-leash on their private property.


Nobody should be able to walk up to a private residence/business and shoot any dog that greets them.


mtasseff

Your right! The police should not respond to any property where dogs are off-leash. So when your having a heart attack and lying on the ground and the dog is running around they should not come on to your property. Some people have no common sense.


MrYan

SOP—will be found to be a “lawful” use of his firearm. Unfortunately.


This is why we have BLM protests right now.

This guy seems to be experiencing “uneven” policing. They harass him, repeatedly, then shoot his dog. Real pro’s.


They went looking for trouble. Lot’s of places are cleaned at this hour, they know it and came up with a false pretense to give this guy shit.


r0y

LEO’s all over, and at all levels, do not have enough training. Contrast them with our nation’s military (e.g. SEALs, Special Forces, etc): those guys often train over a year for a 6 month deployment. Sometimes it’s a 2:1 time training:time in theater.


Law Enforcement gets training then off they go, I highly doubt they have a 1:20 time training:time in the field. I think a good conversation to have would be continual training like 1 day a week, or 2-hours each day on duty, etc. It’d be a significant change in SOP, to be sure, but it just might help.


Last Individual

All the training in the world will not help until there is some accountability for their actions. I’m certain the victim himself would also have been shot had he had made any move to comply when the perpetrator told him to “get his dog” (if in fact such a warning was even given, and/or any time was provided to perform the task demanded). MrYan’s prediction of SOP is almost certainly correct.


mtasseff

Maybe that would be possible when “everyone” is held accountable. Again we have another so called professional without any training or experiencing. But who needs to be trained or educated to become a police officer Last Individual clearly you have all the answers.


slowave7

It takes 975 hours of training at a police academy to graduate, roughly 26 weeks of assessing talent and social acuity.

Seems a somewhat reasonable timetable, hopefully long enough to weed out some of the undesirables…………….

Until you come to the realization that it takes 1500 hours to become a licensed barber.

So either the police training timetable is a little short, or barbers are getting hosed.


mtasseff

I agree we should make the police academy training longer. I also believe that even with 1500 hours some barbers should be never given a pair of scissors.


mtasseff

So you want the police officers to be trained like the military? Aren’t you the same people who want to demilitarize the police. I agree they should have more training. Maybe we can set up a schedule for this ongoing military training 1 day a week. Since they are understaffed already Roy maybe you can fill in for them while they are at their training or maybe we can just have one day a week where we don’t call the police and we all take care of own problems since we are all so much better at their jobs than they are. Remember Roy no guns just a social worker.


mtasseff

Where are you getting this information? If this is true I suggest you provide your sources.


pasoparent5

Law$uit


Last Individual

A lawsuit will only serve to keep lawyer$ employed and drain the public coffers. The victims here will not find justice in a courtroom. Justice is no longer available through the legal system. Justice is beyond the reach of most people both in cost and time. No regular person can wait for or afford justice in today’s world, and the police know this (count on it in fact).The solution is accountability through independent citizen review with the power to punish both agency and individuals involved. I suppose there is a possibility the “officer” was justified, but we will never know since that decision has almost certainly already been made by his friends and union buddies.


mtasseff

You make a lot of “a__sumptions”. Yes we should have a citizens oversight board for law enforcement. I think every profession should have one. First meeting the new members of the board get to take a ride along with an officer (both during the day and during the night shift) they will not get to hide in the car, they will also be required to train with these officers (better get in shape) and of course the infamous simulator training. If the new member doesn’t pass then they can’t be on the board. After all if your going to judge people you should walk in their shoes.


mtasseff

Yes so much easier than getting a job.


commonsenseguy

That’s one tough dog. I’m happy to hear it will recover.


rjakelian

I totally understand what a thankless job police work can be, and appreciate the work they do ( and dont for a second want to disband them or defund them) but Law enforcement should be held accountable for these searches which ransack homes and are done mistakenly, I’ve read of to many of these incidents where they have immunity and dont pay for anything after basically destroying the wrong addresses home, and it just isn’t right…


just4fun

Accountability runs short in all government agencies. Unfortunately for the Sheriff’s department their mistakes are most visible. And, unfortunately, because of all of the BLM BS the cops have understandably circled the wagons so we probably cannot have a productive conversation on how to try and find solutions.


IronHub

Disgusting display in downtown Paso Robles today as people celebrated the shooting of the mentally ill kid with a blue-spangled, ribbon-festooned parade. Incredible…


fat chance

You mean the kid who shot four policemen and killed an innocent local homeless guy? What is wrong with you?


kevin rise

They never disclosed friendly fire which happens in the military and police force.


mtasseff

No but they did their job.


1smartdude

You mean the mentally ill man that could not be forced to be institutionalized for his mental illness due to laws preventing it?


Did you happen to catch any of the reporting from the mentally ill man’s family regarding what they did for him to help him and the limitations that faced in trying to do so?


If Robert Bettencourt had secured his handguns better, they would not have been so easily stolen by a mentally ill man. Guns and ammo unsecured at the office. A recipe for disaster.


How many LEOs were hit by friendly fire?

Inquiring minds want to know.


mtasseff

So you want to know how many were hit by friendly fire? Why?


commonsenseguy

First of all he was not a kid. He was a 26 year old man who had threatened to kill innocent individuals from central Oregon to central California over the last two years. His ultimate death was the result of his evil actions. He followed through with those threats in our area and deserved the ending that came to be because of again, his actions. The officer’s deserve the praise for risking their lives and protecting all of us. That’s the least we can do. Your comment is disgusting. Shame on you!!!


mtasseff

Really?


mtasseff

So the private sector is a pillar of virtuous behavior? No they just have the ability and the money to hide it. Your right we will never be able to have productive conversations when law enforcement is treated with such disrespect. These people want respect but they seem to lack the ability to show it.


mtasseff

This officer did not ransack anyone’s home….he was doing his job. Maybe you should volunteer to ride along with them some night.