The Alice Police Department SWAT team and its other officers did their job last week.
They diffused a deadly situation, negotiating the safe release of the 8-year-old son of a man accused of fatally shooting his wife. Then, without incident, but with assault rifles drawn, they took the suspect into custody.
They all worked just as they been trained to. Unfortunately, the man they arrested, Jose Gonzales, was one of their own, and that's something fellow officers are still struggling with.
“It's been very difficult,” Alice Police Chief Danny Bueno said. “There's a healing process we have to go through as officers and we're getting through all of the stages. I think today, it's something we're all looking at a little differently than we did a few days ago.”
Gonzales is accused of the shooting death of his common-law wife, Leslie Morin, early Monday morning at a home in Annaville. Corpus Christi police said Morin was hiding in the closet of the home with her mother when Gonzales broke the door open, pulled her out and shot her. According to the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office, Morin was shot multiple times.
Gonzales, a nine-year veteran of the police department and a one-time Border Patrol agent, left the house with the couple's 8-year-old son and came to his house in the 1100 block of Washington Drive in Alice.
That's where Alice police Lt. Albert Martinez was able to talk Gonzales into releasing his son and surrendering.
In the days after the fatal shooting and the officer's arrest, the police department reached out to its chaplaincy program which brought in local clergy to council officers. The Texas Department of Public Safety also offered to lend its grief counselors.
“It was a horrible situation which could have been far worse,” Bueno said. “As an officer, you see some things and go through some things and you think you're all right, but it catches up to you.”
Bueno said he hopes the arrest of an officer hasn't affected public confidence in the department.
“We as law enforcement officers protect and serve,” Bueno said. “This is a single action by a single person. I ask that the public please not let the actions of one individual reflect on everyone in our department."
As the police department comes to terms with Monday's events, they are also completing an internal investigation into the shooting and the subsequent arrest of Gonzales. The investigation is standard procedure. Corpus Christi investigators are also handling their end of the criminal investigation.
The scene of the shooting in Annaville and Gonzales' house on Washington Drive are both still marked off with yellow police tape. A key part of the investigation is the alleged weapon used in the shooting. Investigators haven't released any details of the weapon or if it was Gonzales' service weapon that was used.
Gonzales remained in the Nueces County Jail on a $250,000 bond. During a bond hearing Tuesday, 105th District Judge Angelica Hernandez outlined conditions in the event Gonzales makes bail. Gonzales is banned from contact with his son or Morin's family. He will also be required to wear a monitoring device.