Attorney: Emotional toll for man freed after Texas arrest
DALLAS (AP) — A man freed after being accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring a dozen more at an off-campus college party in East Texas is concerned about his future, his attorney said Wednesday.
Brandon Ray Gonzales, 23, was released from jail Tuesday evening after the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office said information favorable to him was discovered. Gonzales said after his release that his mind kept replaying the moment he was arrested on Oct. 28 at the car dealership where he worked.
“You could tell that this has taken a severe toll on him emotionally and he’s kind of worried about his future as far as being able to financially provide for his family,” Andrew Wilkerson, one of his attorneys, said Wednesday.
Wilkerson said his client is troubled that his name is now linked to the shooting.
The sheriff’s office also said Tuesday it requested prosecutors drop the case against Gonzales. He’d been jailed on a capital murder charge after an affidavit said a confidential informant told the investigators he opened fire around midnight Oct. 26 at the party venue outside of Greenville, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Dallas.
Wilkerson said there was no evidence to justify the arrest. He and attorney Michael Campbell say they’re considering filing a civil lawsuit against law enforcement. Campbell said they’re “appalled” at the rush to judgment.
Gonzales said he was in his car when the shooting occurred, and he didn’t even hear the gunshots. He said he just saw people running from the venue. He added that he was on Facetime with someone at the time. Wilkerson said people headed into the party saw Gonzales in his car, as did people fleeing.
“I still don’t understand why I was arrested,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales, who after his release was looking forward to seeing his three young children, said it was crushing to his personality to be in jail when he knew he was innocent.
“I heard people come through as I was in my cell and like, ‘hey, that’s the shooter, that’s the shooter.’ It killed me because that’s not my image. That’s not who I am. That’s not who I’ve ever been,” Gonzales said. “It messed me up.”
Gonzales’ attorneys said he hopes to resume his job at the dealership.
A sheriff’s office spokesman did not respond to messages Wednesday. The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that the investigation into the shooting continues.
The shooting occurred at a Halloween and homecoming party for Texas A&M University-Commerce at a facility called The Party Venue, although officials said it was not a school-sanctioned event. Kevin Berry Jr. of Dallas and Byron Craven Jr. of Arlington, both 23, were killed.
Authorities have said about 750 were attending the party when someone opened fire. Of the 12 people injured, six were shot and six were trampled or hurt by glass.