The family of a Los Angeles man shot and killed by California Highway Patrol officers over the weekend said fear of deportation may have led the 25-year-old El Salvador native to flee when police tried to pull him over for running a stoplight.
Jose Daniel Gonzalez, 25, was shot several times by CHP officers early Saturday on an upscale north Tustin street, concluding an hourlong high-speed chase that began not far from his South-Central Los Angeles home.
Gonzalez was driving his girlfriend's car shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday when Los Angeles police officers tried to pull him over for the traffic violation. The CHP took over the pursuit when Gonzalez got on the Long Beach Freeway and headed south.
Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said Gonzalez, stopped on one north Tustin street and used his car to ram a CHP vehicle, injuring an officer. Gonzalez was then trapped on a second, dead-end street, where he was shot when he tried to ram police again with his car, Amormino said.
The injured officer was treated at a local hospital and released.
Reached by telephone at her South Central Los Angeles home, Alba Gonzales said her son had been ordered deported last year after serving a year in Los Angeles County Jail for a drug conviction.
But he had been mistakenly freed when his sentence was completed May 11, she added.
"He knew there had been a mistake made in the computer, and he lived in fear of being deported," she said. "He told me that he feared going back to jail because he would be deported for sure. He was doing everything he could to live a clean life inside the law."